As the new East District Captain I have been spending time learning as much as possible about the area's crime issues, and neighborhood concerns by researching various data sources both internally and externally. This has included review crime analyst reports, MPD crime data, internal staff interviews, antidotal information from community leaders and neighbors, and the 2011 community survey. Each year MPD conducts a survey that we ask citizens to complete. The purpose of the survey is to obtain community input/perceptions on crime concerns, MPD service, and feelings of safety in our neighborhoods. I will review the key points from the survey.
Neighbors identified burglary and vandalism as small to somewhat of a problem for neighborhoods. Based on crime data this is an accurate perception, and continues into this year, with some recent damage done by a pellets and paint balls. For this specific type of incident neighbor reports of suspicious activity are particularly helpful. While investigative staff looks at those who have engaged in this crime behavior in the past, and patrol officers provide added attention to targeted areas, our best bet to correcting this type of activity is to catch the offender in progress, or to have a tip from the community. In addition to this vandalism, metal thefts have also contributed to area concerns. Since these items are sold to metal recovery and salvage yards, detective staff is working with the Burglary Task Force, an area law enforcement team focusing on property crimes, to track down offenders. While arrests deal with some of the offenders, your cooperation in identifying suspicious activity within your neighborhood is essential in curbing this type of crime.
Figure 1: Survey Excerpt Crime Concerns
Speeding, and loud music from cars were also key areas of concern for respondents. When it comes to speed enforcement, driver behavior is modified by complying with limits, when there is an increased expectation that offenders will be stopped. Highly visible enforcement or routine enforcement will tend to get compliance with speed limits. The problem is that drivers tend to revert to their regular driving behaviors when the threat of apprehension is lessened. Officers do tend to report a consistent antidotal message after addressing a neighborhood speeding complaint? those who live there speed there. The people cited tend to live in the neighborhood or area. So, make a commitment to yourself and your neighbors that while you are in your neighborhood you will be respectful and follow speed regulations. A simple and easy gift to give your family and neighbors – it just takes a little planning.
Figure 2: Survey Excerpt Traffic Concerns
Another tool to address speeding is the use of the speed board. These are the signs that indicate your speed as you approach. This highly visible reminder does slow drivers, and can be requested for your neighborhood.
For those very loud car stereos, you can literally hear them a block away; there is the boom car ordinance. This ordinance allows citizens to capture the information needed for officers to cite violators. For information on the speed board or the boom car ordinance please contact the East Community Police Team at 608.266.5945, or Lt. Wayne Strong at 6.8.261.9112, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The final item I would like to pull from the survey is how neighbors view the relationship with police to resolve community crime issues, and overall feelings of neighborhood safety. I am pleased to see that neighbors recognize the need to work together on neighborhood problems. The East District is committed to work with neighbors on problems and concerns. Police are only effective in working with you to resolve problems when you communicate your needs and concerns. Let's recommit ourselves to improved communication in 2012, to maintain the overall safety of our neighborhoods.
Figure 3: Survey Excerpt
If you are interested, the full survey responses are available at: