Crime Prevention Q & A

Joel Clemmer and Callie Recknagel passed along this very interesting set of questions and answers from the police department about crime prevention.

When should I call the police and when shouldn’t I bother them? Suspicious character? Noisy vehicle? Noisy neighbors?

Always feel free to call the police no matter what the issue is! Police will never say you are “bothering” them – it is what they are here for but do know that calls are prioritized meaning that the barking dog or noise complaint may take longer for them to respond depending on what the call load is at that particular day.

Is there a number I can call other than 911 for something I know is not an emergency? I don’t want to bother the 911 operators with a non-emergency.

The non-emergency number is 651-291-1111. If in doubt, call 911 and let the tele-communicator determine if it is an emergency.

We are traveling over the holidays. What should we do to ensure security of our house? What if I am uncomfortable reporting to a stranger – even the Police – that the house is empty?

Lighting! If you do not want to inform neighbors or others that you are going to be gone, light up your property with dusk to dawn lights – these are inexpensive and simply screw into a light socket and the light bulb into this. Also, invest in light timers for the interior lights. Put a few in different locations that will come on and off at different times and maybe even one on a radio or TV. Be sure that someone is picking up newspapers and mail, and arrange to have someone shovel the sidewalk & driveway in the case it snows while you are away. If you have a vehicle that you can leave parked in the driveway do so or possibly have a neighbor or family member park one of their vehicles in your driveway.

Is it worth investing in a security system or are they more trouble than they are worth?

I don’t know of people who think of their systems as being “more trouble than they are worth” but it is a personal preference. If you are interested in having one installed, ask family or friends who have one who they use, are they pleased with the service, and then get one or two estimates before investing. If you do have one installed, use it! Too many people think they are only going to be gone for a short time so don’t set them – it’s easy to set and easy to disarm so use what you have.

Does the Police Department encourage resident-organized Neighborhood Patrols?

We certainly encourage people to watch out for their neighborhoods whether this is an organized schedule or not. If you do organize such a thing, keep it simple and do not confront person(s) who you think may be up to something – carry a cell phone and call 911 to let police respond to check it out.

What is the most frequent property crime in Mac-Grove and what should we do about it? The second most frequent?

Theft from autos is probably #1. This is a fairly easy crime to deter by simply not leaving anything in your vehicle. There are of course incidents where the stereo equipment is stolen but more often it is items that are taken.

#2 and this would depend on the time of year with #1 would be bikes stolen. Again, a solution would be to lock the bikes even if they are in a garage and make sure the garage doors are secure.

How does the Mac Grove crime rate compare to other neighborhoods and to a typical suburb? Is it really safer in the ‘burbs?

Mac-Grove is a very nice area. To compare it to other neighborhoods would depend on the area of course but for the most part, it is a safe and lower crime area. The burbs all have their share of crime and problems contrary to common myths. There are virtually no areas that anyone could say are “crime free”!

I do not see squad cars patrolling my block. Where do they patrol in Mac Grove?

There are squads assigned to all neighborhoods at all times. You may not see a squad but then again, nobody is watching all of the time, particularly at the moment a squad may drive down your street!

If I need police assistance on a Saturday night, how long will it take for them to arrive?

There is no correct answer for this question – it really does depend on the day, time, and especially the call load but know that if you need a squad, one will be sent. If it is an emergency, the squad will respond quickly, if it is a barking dog, it may take a bit longer.

What makes a difference in avoiding break-ins? Leaving lights on, inside or outside? Some kind of special locks? Security grates over basement and other windows? A dog? A moat?

Again, lights are a key prevention inside and out to deter burglars.

Locks are an important part of prevention too. Solid core doors with good dead bolts on all exterior doors along with sufficient door frames will help to deter break in. Always lock windows and if you have basement windows that could be breached, putting security grates on them is an option. A dog is a good deterrent as well. Most burglars would probably opt for a quiet, dog free home over one that has a dog on the other side of a door!

I keep hearing about City budget cuts. Does our number of officers meet standards?

We are currently at full strength (at approximately 600 officers) but hope to increase that number in 2013. Public safety is a priority for the City of Saint Paul!

What happens to K9 dogs when they retire?

Since there is such a bond between the officer and their dog, the dog typically lives out their life with the officer.

Beware of Pit Bull

Christine sent a warning that an aggressive white Pit Bull has been loose in the neighborhood.

In the last two weeks there has been an aggressive white pit bull spotted in the neighborhood. It was first spotted in front of 1997 Lincoln Ave, where the owners tried to approach it to read his tags but the dog was too scared and snarling. It was next spotted in front of 1995 Lincoln. A mother and her young daughter were walking and the dog followed them snarling and show signs of aggression as well as being too close for comfort. They sought shelter in a neighbor’s house till the dog passed.

If you see this dog please do not approach it. Call Bill Stephenson at animal control, 651-266-1100. If it is a weekend you will need to call the police. Also have talks with your children to warn them about this animal.

We believe this dog lives on Goodrich. As it has been heading in that direction. If you have any information regarding this dog please contact Christine Anderson at 612-306-0779.

Again do not approach this dog as it is showing signs of aggression towards people.

Burglaries in Mac-Groveland, 11/30

Due to a number of recent burglaries in Macalester-Groveland (east of Snelling Avenue), the Community Council is holding a community meeting with the Saint Paul Police Department on Wednesday, November 30th at 7:00pm. Come to this neighborhood meeting to learn more about recent crime trends in the neighborhood, as well as crime prevention tips and information. Continue reading