Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Celli: Police work to communicate more with community in interest of safety

Recently there have been several violent incidents publicized through media sources that have occurred in our city, our county and the nation alike. It sometimes seems that information on serious or violent crimes is being issued daily.

I wanted to take a moment to reassure our citizens that although some of these incidents are tragic, they are, for the most part, isolated incidents.

In no way is it my intention to minimize these senseless acts of violence. Our hearts go out to those families who have suffered the loss of a loved one, be it from a violent act or other senseless crime such as drunk driving.

Others have been stricken with fear by a cowardly, selfish act of stealing property with the use of force, a firearm or threat of violence.

However, it is important to understand as advances in technology are made, information is being shared now more than ever before at a much faster rate.

Please keep in mind that although you may be receiving more information about crime, particularly violent crime, it does not necessarily indicate that violent crime has increased in our community.

We at the Clearlake Police Department have increased our sharing of information. This has been done in part to increase transparency, but also in hopes that citizens may increase their awareness, which will lead to their increased safety as well as possibly a more effective partnership in fighting crime with our community to capture suspects or solve crimes.

I want to reassure our community that law enforcement is working together to provide the highest level of safety and security to our citizens.

Although not always the case, most of the violent crimes that occur in our community happen because some people have involved themselves in illegal activities, such as large-scale marijuana growing operations or theft and assaults, which may cause retaliation from others.

There are elements in our community that would rather take the law into their own hands rather than cooperate with the police or report illegal activities. These decisions made by a few often result in further crime and sometimes cause grief for innocent victims that had nothing to do with the incident.

I would like to reassure our citizens that generally they are safe in our community. Although somewhat too early to state for sure due to the annual statistics not being completed, preliminary indications have shown a reduction in violent crime this year in our city.

I would, however, like to take the time to remind citizens of a few safety tips that could increase our community’s safety and security as we approach the holidays.

Sometimes the holidays will bring unsavory characters out in the open, looking for an easy target. This may occur because people are often busy focusing on holiday shopping and not particularly paying attention to their surroundings to see if someone is approaching them from behind or at their vehicle.

People should be aware of how and when they are displaying their valuables or money when others are nearby. If you see someone suspicious please report it to your local law enforcement agency.

As the weather gets colder, often people leave their vehicles running to warm up while they are inside their residences staying warm. There are suspects that will look for an opportunity such as this to steal your vehicle. Please ensure that you lock your vehicles and don’t leave them unattended while they are running.

Also, when Christmas shopping, some may leave items or valuables inside their vehicles while completing other shopping. Making an attempt to conceal valuables could mean the difference between a fun shopping day and grief from an auto burglary.

More people travel during the holiday season often leaving their residences for days or longer. If you are one of those who travel during the holiday season, you may want to have an agreement with a trusted neighbor to watch over your house with instructions to report any suspicious activity. In addition, leave a contact number so that you can be reached.

You may also want to contact the police department and request extra patrol from the Volunteers in Policing.

As winter arrives, hours of darkness become longer. It is a good idea to increase lighting around your property. Lighting can sometimes deter would-be burglars to choose a different area that would conceal their crime rather than a well lit property.

Please allow more time for traveling, especially during icy, wet conditions. Please don’t rush as the sense of urgency to get home after work sets in. Take a few more safety precautions such as allowing more time to make sure it is clear when pulling out into traffic.

Make sure your vehicle equipment is working and you headlights, turn signals and windshield wipers, tires are in good repair and please do not drink and drive.

There are several options such as using a designated driver, a taxi and in some areas outside our county, ride services such as “Uber” or “Lyft” could be a viable option. Please take the time to think of your safety as well as the safety of others before getting behind the wheel as an intoxicated driver.

Working in partnership to increase our community’s safety and security is part of our mission at the Clearlake Police Department and you can help us help you by doing just a few things suggested here. 

The Clearlake Police Department wishes all of you a safe, happy, joyful holiday season.  

Lt. Tim Celli is acting chief of the Clearlake Police Department in Clearlake, Calif.

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