Portsmouth police roll out initiative to quash burglaries


by Brian Farrell, 13News


Posted on May 28, 2013 at 11:54 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 29 at 5:55 AM

PORTSMOUTH -- "If they would have broken in, and my daughter was here? I have no idea how I would have taken it," said Justen Young in front of his home on Colorado Avenue. "I know how I feel about it, because it scares me, keeps me up now."

A few weeks ago, someone kicked in the front door of the house and burglarized it. Days later, somebody tried to pound through the back door. Young told 13News his alarm scared that person or the people away.

"Coming into your home, you don't want to sit up here and bar doors, and bar windows, and check, and recheck everything to make sure that it's locked, but it's absolutely necessary," Young said.

In the past several weeks, there has been a large number of burglaries throughout Portsmouth. Also, typically, the city experiences an increase in burglaries and other property crimes as summer approaches.

Portsmouth Police Department is implementing a pilot program aimed at reducing those crimes. 

The initiative's goal is to have a constant flow of officers at staggered times throughout the day focused in small geographic areas where crime trends appear to be emerging based on the latest crime data. 

An officer will reassigned temporarily to serve as a Crime Reduction Officer (CRO) to augment the resources of the Neighborhood Impact Officer who already serves a particular community.

The CRO will devote all of his/her time towards the particular crime pattern identified, such as burglary.  CROs will remain in place until the problem drops in volume or goes away. 

At different times, officers from assignments such as Detective, Strategic Traffic, Mounted Patrol and Uniform Patrol will enter the targeted area.  Together, they will distribute crime prevention material, make citizen contacts, conduct necessary traffic stops, and keep a log of any and all activity in the targeted area. 

The department hopes to strengthen neighborhood and police community partnerships, and heighten crime awareness. 

Activity logs will help in analyzing either the reduction or increase in crime in that particular area. The program was designed so that geographical operational areas can be changed at a moment's notice, should the criminal activity decrease in the targeted area, while trends emerge elsewhere within the city.

Just about every division of the Portsmouth Police Department will devote people to participate in the program.  Officers encourage citizens to help them by locking doors, turning on lights at night, and watching out for neighbors when they are away.  

Police also recommend you document serial numbers and photograph valuables so you have a record if something is taken.

Anyone can report suspicious activity by contacting 911, your Community Services Officer, or through the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.  You also may text “Portsmouth” plus your tip to 274637 (CRIMES).