Police discuss crime prevention at anti-crime night

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The Police Department held a community awareness event to inform residents on recent crime statistics in the city and also present crime prevention tips inside the Dearborn Public Schools Administration Building April 30.

Cpl. Dan Bartok, who works with the department’s Crime Prevention Unit, said crime statistic numbers have gone down over the first three months of the year when compared to last year at the same time.

He said the department saw a reduction in Part A crimes in the city from 1,738 in 2013 to 1,474 in 2014, a drop of 15 percent. The statistics compare stats from Jan. 1 to March 31 from last year to this year.

Bartok said Part A crimes are the most serious committed in the city, including vehicle thefts, robbery, assaults, breaking and entering into homes, larcenies from vehicles and malicious destruction of property.

“We have seen a reduction in Part A crimes, but we also have to remember that we had the worst winter in history, so these numbers could go up as the weather improves,” Bartok said.

Sgt. David Marshall said the city is broken into eight patrol areas, or “beats,” by the police, with a number assigned to each that is used to identify them to officers.

He said the department is able to map crimes in each beat and determine if any trends or batches of similar crimes are being perpetrated in any area, which helps them when assigning different units to that beat.

Bartok said many crimes the department investigates are crimes of opportunity where the victims unknowingly makes themselves targets by not locking house windows or vehicle doors.

“Most criminals seek the easiest targets they can find,” Bartok said. “They want to get in quickly, quietly and unseen and get away in the same manner.”

For home security, Bartok recommended that all residents keep their garage doors closed and locked, install and use exterior lighting and to make sure not to leave items laying in the yard that may be used to gain entry into the house.

“With the weather getting nicer, we find that residents open the door to let fresh air in and then go into the backyard to garden or work on something else,” Bartok said. “Meanwhile, they’ve left the front door wide open and made the job of entry easier for a passing criminal.”

He said similar patterns can be seen with car thefts and larcenies from vehicles.

“We had a study last year about thefts from vehicles and it showed that in about 40 percent of the incidents the doors were unlocked or the windows were rolled down,” Bartok said. “That’s a lot of crime that could be prevented if we just made sure our vehicles are secure at all times.”

He concluded by saying residents need to be aware of their surroundings and be cognizant of not leaving themselves open to theft by following simple safety precautions.

“We really need to watch what we do and not make ourselves easy victims of crime,” Bartok said. “Also, watch out for your neighbors. We have a suspicious activity line for residents to report anything out of place and we encourage people to use it.”

The DPD Suspicious Activity Tip Line is 313-943-3030.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)