While most people understand that crime trends are influenced by numerous factors (population, substance abuse, gang activity, poverty, broken household structure and lack of community resources); to list a few of the more commonly known factors. Law enforcement professionals continue to seek out the most recent technology, more sophisticated crime fighting models, and digital crime data analysis in order to better respond to the changing needs of our growing communities that demand high quality, error free service, but also expect their police to be proactive and assertive in identifying and capturing criminals that prey on other community members.

All community members need to be aware of and responsive to their community’s crime and be willing to respond to these issues by reporting all known crimes to law enforcement in order to mitigate and reduce incidents of crime that can lead to a significant and long-term decay of any community. Community utility and quality of life profiles for all cities in America are not exempt from data and statistical analysis. While I won’t bore everyone with a tutorial in social research statistics and z-score calculation, the non-data driven person and non-law enforcement community can turn to web-based platforms such as: areavibes.com, neighborhoodscout.com, or the FBI Uniform Crime Reports to learn and read about livability scores, crime risk reports, as well as ratio data statistics that are reported annually by law enforcement agencies across the country.

As a private citizen and as a law enforcement professional (you really are never truly off duty), I feel compelled to share the importance of realizing that the crime issues we will collectively encounter have no municipal or state boundaries. Most criminals are travelers and do not just prey on one little region of choice. Therefore, why would we as individuals only focus on our property, our block, our neighborhood, or our city. Sure, police personnel often hear community members tell us: “Why call? You won’t do anything anyways;” “The police take too long to get here;” “I don’t want to get involved;” and “it’s not my problem, so I don’t need to report it.”

As a police chief, I concede that no police agency can prevent every crime. However, as a private citizen I like many others want to live in a community that is safe for my family, is appealing to others law-abiding persons, provides positive opportunities for everyone, and encourages all generations to be active and contributing members of the community. The founding father of modern-day policing, sir Robert Peel, established a list of policing principles that remain as relevant today as they were two centuries ago. “To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”

In today’s world, awareness, understanding, and public-private cooperation to combat crime are of the highest priority for all communities. I encourage everyone to work with others to keep our communities safe!

STEVEN ROMERO is the chief of the Ontario Police Department. The Safety First column has rotating authors, all of whom work locally in public safety. Citizens can submit questions for the column to editor@argusobserver.com with “safety” in the subject line or by calling them in to (541) 823-4818. The opinions and views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Argus Observer.

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