More police patrols for CentervilleAug 05, 2021 09:14AM ● By Linda Petersen
Centerville has seen an uptick in burglaries in the city prompting the Police Department to suggest overtime patrol shifts at night. Courtesy CPD
CENTERVILLE — City officials concerned about the increase of burglary in the community have authorized funding for more police patrols to help address the problem. On June 1, the city council approved $30,000 to fund overtime patrol shifts for Centerville.
In recent months, thieves have targeted various neighborhoods around the city. On May 25, the northeast quadrant of the city was hit with a spate of burglaries in the early morning hours. Vehicles, purses and other items were stolen. Primarily the thieves entered through unlocked garage doors, the Centerville Police Department reported. Car break-ins have also been a problem throughout the city.
“I’ve had many residents approach me about the crime that’s happened to them, and neighbors are having it and it’s hitting Facebook,” City Council member Robyn Mecham said at a June 1 council meeting. “People are very concerned about what’s going on on our streets while they’re asleep and at night.”
Mecham said both she and Police Chief Paul Child felt a pilot program where Centerville officers could work overtime shifts at night patrolling the city would be successful, “to see if we could make our streets a little safer while we’re sleeping.”
“It would be way less expensive than hiring new officers, but they could pick these shifts up at night and the only thing they would do would be go through our neighborhoods and look for prowlers and people that shouldn’t be there,” she added.
The rest of the city council were supportive of Mecham’s suggestion and voted unanimously to fund a pilot program with $30,000 from a special council contingency fund in the 2021-22 budget.
“I’m 100 percent behind it,” Council member George McEwan said. “I think it’s great. Once the chief tells us the effectiveness, we can look at programming it into the future as a stopgap. This at least plugs the hole potentially.”
McEwan said a broader message should be sent out to the community.
“You’ve got to look out for your neighbors,” he said. “If you see they’ve left a laptop in the car, go knock on their door. Tell them ‘You’ve left a laptop in your car’ or ‘Hey, by the way, your garage door is open.’ … We can’t totally rely on our officers to do that. They can help us, but the message should also include, ‘Hey, watch out for your neighbors.’”
Under the new program, patrols will be randomized and will be as frequent as officers are available to sign up for the shifts. Officers working these patrols will be dedicated solely to patrolling the city and will not answer calls or enforce traffic laws during these shifts. Child has also commissioned a study to address policing needs in the city and to determine if additional officers are needed.
On June 23, in a Facebook post, the police department also reported the sighting of a cougar near Chase Lane and Main Street. They searched the area but were not able to locate the animal. The Division of Wildlife Resources suggests that residents exercise caution and become familiar with the information in this website, https://www.wildawareutah.org/wildlife/cougars/.