City officials challenge residents with Crime Prevention Week
by Brande Poulnot
Oct 19, 2010 | 1405 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Call 911 if you spot suspicious activity -- that is the message Cartersville leaders and police officials are sending with Crime Prevention Week, which begins today and includes a Saturday event at the police department.

Mayor Matt Santini issued Thursday a proclamation encouraging citizens to team up with law enforcement and challenging residents to make crime prevention a priority.

"Crime prevention is important to think about. We get comfortable if we're never victimized. We get comfortable walking out the door and not locking it. We get comfortable not really having a 360-degree awareness of where we are," Police Chief Tommy Culpepper said. "If we go to the mall, we're thinking between the car and the mall and we're not thinking about the things in between.

"We just want people to have a higher awareness of the need to protect themselves and their property and others."

With its Stop Criminal Activity Now program, Cartersville Police Department works to prompt citizens to be the eyes and ears of the department -- to be more observant in detecting criminal activity and report those happenings to the police.

In the proclamation officials say individuals who take the initiative and call 911 have taken the first step in making the community safer for everyone.

When the department initiated S.C.A.N. in May, Capt. Jeff Black, who oversees the department's crime prevention and Neighborhood Watch efforts, said officers need the help from the community.

"Citizens in the community and the police have got to work together to be effective in reducing crime and keeping neighborhoods safe," Black said in a May interview. "We think the more involved the citizens are with us, the more effective we'll be in being able to solve crimes and [S.C.A.N.] is a proactive approach to hopefully stop crime before it gets to be an ongoing thing."

In another crime prevention effort, CPD offers property registration via the agency's website, Police say providing a description of your property, its value, brand, model number and serial number, would help investigators in the event the items are stolen.

Items that should be registered include electronics, appliances, bicycles, cell phones, cameras and firearms. Capt. Frank Cline said those goods should be valued at $300 or more.

The agency's website also is outfitted with an electronic vacation watch request form. CPD has offered extra patrols of vacationing residents' homes for some time, but the Internet request form for the service came on board earlier this year.

The Saturday event during Crime Prevention Week, which wraps up Sunday, is another way for the department to keep the focus on prevention.

"[Crime prevention] is important because fundamentally, we can't do this job by ourselves. We have to have the help of the community," Culpepper said in May. " ... It helps make that connection between the community and us, puts more eyes out there. It creates that idea of people watching for themselves and seeing what's going on -- because people are so busy -- instead of just being locked in to what you're doing and being very linear in how you see things.

"We're trying to encourage people to look broader, to look to the right and left to see what's going on in your neighborhood, to and from work and those kind of things, to create a greater awareness of what's going on around you from a crime prevention standpoint."

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the police department at 178 W. Main St. in Cartersville, attendees will receive information on crime prevention, view displays of police equipment and participate in a simulated DUI driving experience.

For more information, call CPD at 770-382-2526.