Crime rates continue to decline in the Town of Marana, and the Marana Police Department is aiming to keep things that way with the implementation of some new strategic programs and continued public education in 2013.
Last year, the police department saw several key areas of crime reduction from the 2010-2011 year. According to the department’s three-year Crime Report and Traffic Data, sexual assaults are down 78 percent, aggravated assault were down 23 percent, burglary saw a reduction of 24 percent, and motor vehicle recoveries (of stolen vehicles) are up 400 percent – and those are just a few of many areas of improvement.
“This goes to show that officers are being proactive in their community,” said Sergeant Jose Alvarez, public information officer. “We’re out there trying to be visible, and target crimes when they occur.”
One of the reasons the department is seeing a reduction in crime, adds Alvarez, is because of the continually adapting police programs that deter and prevent crime in the community. The Directed Action Response Team (DART), formed last year, is one program that could particularly benefit the town early this year, at a time when increased commercial burglaries have temporarily spiked.
“This has been one of those factors that has really helped us target certain crimes,” said Alvarez. “Each week, the chief and commanders get together with the DART sergeant to develop strategical tactical operations planning. We look at the numbers and gear our efforts to reduce certain areas of crime. Recently, burglaries have been one of the areas we are looking at.”
As an additional response, the police department is hoping to educate business owners on how to better protect their storefronts with its newfound business coalition program, in which Police Chief Terry Rozema visits businesses and offers crime prevention tips to help counteract the burglary problem. To date, many of the burglaries have been taking place at medical facilities or automobile businesses, according to Alvarez.
Alvarez said many of the recent burglaries have been the result of the criminal gaining quick access into a building. Despite often setting off an alarm, the burglars have been just as quick to exit, generally taking the store’s petty cash box with them.
Some crime prevention tips encouraged by Rozema and the department include: installing deadbolt locks on every exterior door and installing metal guards around the deadbolt locks, reinforcing walls that adjoin to other businesses, securing ladders or roof access means when not in use, and installing security laminate on glass or adhesive sealant around the inside and outside edges.
Given that some of the recent burglaries have occurred at residences, Alvarez advises residents to practice good habits, such as locking all doors and windows before leaving, installing motion lights, setting an alarm if one is present, and in the case the residents are home at the time of the burglary, to lock themselves in a room and call the police if time allows.
Within the next few months, the Marana Police Department will begin participating in social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to release further prevention tips and to more quickly relay related information to the public.
Just as much as this and other efforts will benefit the public, the police department continues to also rely on its citizens to actively aid in crime prevention.
“Crime is always going to occur,” said Alvarez. “Our goal is to keep it as close to zero as possible. We want to get people into good habits of contacting the police when they see something suspicious and sharing in that responsibility. It’s too easy to rationalize something potentially suspicious when you see it. It’s always best to call the police. If it’s nothing, residents will still see that service is provided to them, and if it’s something, then it mutually benefits the police and the residents.”
For more tips on crime prevention and safety, visit the department’s home page at bit.ly/X2WTTX. Residents who would like to donate their time to the town’s Volunteers In Police Service program can call Lori Sheppard at 382-3000. About 40 volunteers currently make up the program.