Suspicious activity calls in 2013 are up to 140 so far, an increase from 112 to this point in 2012.
It would be easy to believe that any increase in police activity is bad, but in this case, it is good. Suspicious activity is defined by the Sheriff’s Office as, “Suspicious persons, acts or vehicles-no charges.” The increase in suspicious activity calls indicates that citizens are calling when they see something. This is a great help to law enforcement and a great service to the community.
You are the eyes and ears of the neighborhood. These calls direct law enforcement to the right place at the right time, and allow us to deter any potential criminal activity. Sometimes we discover that there is no criminal activity and find a perfectly good explanation for the suspicious activity. That is great — we love these calls. Each gives us a better understanding of what is going on in the neighborhood and shows us that people in the neighborhood will call in suspicious activity. These calls also deter criminal activity. You may never know what you prevented by calling, but you will prevent nothing if you don’t call. Safety starts with good neighbors.
Reports of suspicious activity are only helpful in preventing criminal activity if reported immediately. Please do not wait until the morning or the next day to contact us. If we hear of something hours or days later, it is very difficult to solve the case and impossible to deter the crime before it happens. Please call 911 any hour, day or night. We would much rather come to your neighborhood and prevent something from happening than respond after you have been a victim. Please call as it is happening or as soon as you discover a crime or suspicious activity. It is not a bother to us. We are available 24-7. The Sheriff’s Office never sleeps.
911 is not just for life and death situations. 911 is for any in progress situation that needs attention quickly. If there are teenagers hanging out at a park after hours, call 911. If there’s a suspicious vehicle circling the neighborhood, call 911. Maybe the teenagers are harmless or maybe the driver of the vehicle is lost, but maybe not. At minimum, the teenagers need to leave the park if it is closed, and the driver may need directions. There have been several times I have been told, the day after a rash of vandalism or theft, that somebody saw a group of suspicious people in the neighborhood the night before. This would have been much more useful information if it were reported as it was happening.
We need your help. We can’t be everywhere all the time. You are the eyes and ears of your neighborhood. It is our job as law enforcement to protect and serve the community and help make your community a comfortable and safe place. Please help us help you by calling while suspicious activity is happening. If 911 still makes you uncomfortable, you can call the non-emergency number, 952-361-1231.
Communities are safest when there is cooperation between the police and the community. Over the years, I have witnessed the citizens of Watertown take a more active role in the safety of their neighborhoods. Let’s continue to work together. Thank you to the citizens of Watertown for helping us help you.
Cpl. Troy Carlson of the Carver County Sheriff’s Office is the Town Cop assigned to Watertown. His column is an occasional feature of the Carver County News.