About four years ago, the Bartow Police Department, through our community services division, started a campaign to gain voluntary compliance from our citizens in securing their property. Why, you ask? That is a good question. The answer is because burglary and theft were the most prominent crimes in Bartow. To be more specific, we started analyzing the data in the offense reports. What we learned was that approximately 80 percent of the burglaries and thefts that occurred in the city were a result of unsecured property.
I know that you remember some of my earlier articles where I harped and harped on this issue. The purpose behind it all was that these are numbers that we could easily bring down with a little assistance from the community; thereby bringing our overall crime rate in the city down.
Recently, the Uniform Crime Report came out for the first six months of the year. As usual, these numbers are compared to the same time last year. This is how we look for trends, and grade our progress. In Bartow, we saw a higher than 40 percent decrease in burglaries, and a 35 percent decrease in robberies. This is significant, but what I saw, that really reinforced our original goal and efforts of the last four years, is that we have also reduced our unsecured property loss by almost 50 percent. In other words, our community services effort to get folks to lock their doors and bring in property that was unsecured is working. The numbers are very positive.
Our job is not over by a long-shot. We did see increases in theft during the same time frame, so let’s all work harder to take care of our property, and don’t let the bad guys win!