Going over anything from safety concerns to traffic questions, the Henderson Police Department engaged residents with its inaugural Talk Shop With Cops event April 30.
Capt. Bobby Long went through basic information about the Henderson Police Department at the Henderson Multigenerational Center, 250 S. Green Valley Parkway. The event addressed over-arching topics throughout Henderson while answering questions specific to the West Area Command, the area of Henderson over which Long presides.
“We want to put a face to the department,” Long said. “(It) gives people an opportunity to see what we’re working with — a snapshot what the department looks like.”
Each year, the Henderson Police Department drives an average of 1.8 million miles around the city serving and protecting its residents, Long said.
“We do a good job, and we’re working to do better,” he said. “If you’re not happy with the service, we want to know.”
Long discussed the problems of theft of copper wiring, an issue the city has dealt with on an ongoing basis.
Whether it is a light pole on a street or in the park, Long said people are indiscriminate when it comes to tampering with fixtures to steal the wiring.
“(Thieves) are taking it down and selling it for pennies on the dollar,” he said.
It isn’t just one pole affected. Whenever people steal the copper wires from one light fixture, they often yank the wiring so hard that it affects 10 surrounding poles.
It’s about $1,500 to replace the damage from pole to pole, Long added.
“That’s where you come in,” Long said, addressing the audience.
If people see something that looks suspicious, such as a person tampering with the bottom of the pole, they should report it to the police, Long said. Only city employees should be working on the light poles.
Long took time to address the top concerns of residents.
“The No. 1 concern outside of traffic is burglary,” Long said.
Lindsay Vukanovich, an officer in the community relations unit, gave tips on fraud and crime prevention.
She informed residents about the department’s program that gives assessments on how to better secure houses, which includes items such as more lighting in the landscape, trimming shrubbery or investing in an alarm system.
“The assessment won’t make your house burglary-proof,” she said. “It will put you ahead of the curve. Studies have shown if you can delay someone from breaking into your home by a few minutes, they will get frustrated and leave.”
The assessment is free. However, it’s up to residents to decide if they want to spend money investing in the suggestions the officers provide.
Vukanovich also touched on common-sense safety issues to prevent fraud and theft.
“Most of the thefts committed are done out of opportunity,” she said. “They were committed quickly and easily.”
The department sees a lot of cars broken into at gyms and parks because people leave items such as purses or phones in plain view.
Easy fixes, she added, would be to put items in the trunk or tuck them under the seat where items can’t be seen.
When it comes to fraud, she has seen people receive calls or emails from scammers requesting money.
“Sometimes, they play on your heartstrings,” she said.
People might call to say they are collecting funds for a certain cause. Vukanovich recommends taking their information down to call them back.
In other situations, people might get a call informing them that their account has been compromised.
“If they are calling you, they shouldn’t be asking you to verify your PIN number or account number,” she said. “Find the number for customer service and call them.”
Calling customer service directly, people can be assured they are talking with the right people, she said.
Aside from Long and Vukanovich, officers from departments within Henderson Police, ranging from traffic to animal control, were present to answer questions.
Vukanovich also informed residents about programs such as AlertID, a communication platform that can be accessed through a cellphone that connects people with law enforcement.
About 10 residents attending the event asked questions about graffiti, traffic and burglary rates.
The department is slated to have two more events from 6 to 7 p.m. July 23 at the Whitney Ranch Recreation Center, 1575 Galleria Drive, and from 6 to 7 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Heritage Park Senior Center, 300 S. Racetrack Road. For more information, visit cityofhenderson.com/police.
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5201.