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Neighborhood crime

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Criminals are talking to each other, exchanging ideas and that's why it's so important for residents to get involved in their neighborhood crime watch.

Some pretend to be landscapers or painters, hired to do service work.

"You see somebody with paint material or a mowing crew, you think they're there to actually do work."

 

When Ronnie Carlson first installed his surveillance cameras, he thought he might be paranoid.

Carlson said, "A few houses in my neighborhood had gotten broken into...my neighbor across the street and two houses down and I just put them up for piece of mind and security."

He's like most of us.

"I've always been the kind of person, ah you know, it won't happen to me," Ronnie said.

But it did happen.

Luckily, though his cameras caught everything.

Carlson said, "It caught him, a good picture of his face. It caught him actually going through my fence and it caught his Orange Chevy Aveo Hatchback."

 

He used the images to create flyers.

"It worked. The following day they caught the guy. He actually was running from the cops and ran into a tree," Carlson said.

 

During a neighborhood crime meeting, community members and local law enforcement discussed ways to "harden your home."

The first and probably most obvious is to install a security system.

Keep the landscaping around your house neat and trim...an obstructed front yard is like an open invitation to a crook.

Make sure your cars and trucks are clean, without anything of value inside.

Work trucks, with power tools in the back, are another favorite.

"Anytime you have community watch members, things of that nature, it works kind of like a force multiplier because you've got that many more eyes, that many more people that are kind of patrolling, putting us exactly where we need to be," said Officer Taber White, with APD.

He says when you're spending time outside, keep an eye out for anything suspicious because you're going to be the most familiar with the neighborhood.

White said, "To be able to detain somebody we need a legitimate reason, at least reasonable suspicion that they're up to something, that there's a possibility they're committing a crime."

 

That means when you call 911, give as many details as possible.

If you want to check out crime in your area, krimelabb.com and the police department's "crime viewer" websites are helpful.

"Just getting out and noticing odd things around your neighborhood. If it doesn't fit in, tell people. Call the cops, call 311, call 911, whatever it is, just to get the word out," said Carlson.

If you want to know what's happening next door, or across the street, but you can't afford a surveillance system, those websites will come in handy. They're free and available for anyone to use.

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