May 30, 2019
Lots going on around the county, and in the Wahkiakum County Sheriff's Office as well these days.
First and foremost, I am pleased to say that our theft and burglary cases have plummeted the last couple months. Two burglaries and three thefts were reported in the entire county. Zero thefts or burglaries were reported in the Skamokawa area or areas where we have held neighborhood watch meetings or coffee-with-a-cop meetings.
In my experience, wherever there are police/community meetings to talk about crime prevention and how the members of that neighborhood can work with us to communicate information about local happenings, crime drops. Not only does partnering together to stem crime problems allow us to know what's going on in a neighborhood, but the message is loud and clear to the would-be thieves that residents aren't going to tolerate criminal activity in their neighborhood. That they are going to report suspicious behavior and people who may be up to no good. I am delighted with the depth of involvement our communities are showing and the care people have for their neighborhoods. Neighborhood Watch signs have recently been placed in the Skamokawa areas and remind people of the community's vigilance in keeping their neighborhoods safe.
A new program that our Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS) has started is the community VIPS Visits. If you or a friend or family member could use a friendly visit, we have volunteers who will stop in on occasion and check on you or someone you care about. If you know someone who lives alone, is unable to leave their residence very often, or would just appreciate a visit, give the sheriff's office a call at 360.795.3242 Ext. 2, and talk to Raedyn Grasseth. She will easily sign you up for our VIPS to stop in and visit.
An exciting new resource is going to be available soon. The sheriff's office will soon be offering the "Citizens' Portal" online. There are two things this new software will allow anyone in the public to do. One is that it will allow people to fill out a basic report online. For basic lost or found items, petty theft reports, or other minor reports, this will allow the public a convenient way to make a report without waiting for a deputy to respond. This will only be offered for reports that do not require immediate response. A deputy response will still be available for any call for service, but this allows people to fill out the information at their convenience and still receive a follow up from the sheriff's office if need be.
The second thing the new system will allow is for anyone to access crime data and mapping throughout the county. At any moment someone will be able to look up crimes or calls for service in their neighborhood or anywhere in Wahkiakum County. You just fill out the parameters with the specific dates, types of calls, and area boundaries, and quickly have statistics at your fingertips.
Right now, it is a daunting process for the sheriff's office to pull up crime statistics or calls for service without doing a manual search each time and then a hand search of each list to check addresses and dates. The new system will be a great resource for not only the sheriff's office but the public as well.
I have a lot more to share but I will write another column soon. Please enjoy the warming weather and be safe in all you do.