While the Springfield Police Department is currently experiencing a staffing shortage, our ability to effectively respond to calls for service remains our top priority. In fact, between 2019 and 2020, the average response time for Priority One Calls (a life-threatening situation or where serious injuries are believed to exist) improved from 6:40 minutes to 6:16 minutes. However, the best way to control crime in our community is through crime prevention, and every member of the community plays an important role in this effort. There are several tactics that can be implemented to avoid crime from occurring in your neighborhood.
One important approach is Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). Criminals typically make rational choices about their targets and are less likely to commit a crime if there is greater risk of being caught or if there is greater effort required and fewer perceived rewards. CPTED focuses on lighting and landscaping design, among other strategies, that will reduce potential hiding places for criminals and make your home less susceptible to being burglarized.
One method to consider is the use of dense barrier plants that have thorns or needles. They should be used below and to the sides of windows and next to fences and walls where access is not needed or desired. Another consideration might be to refrain from using bark or wood chip borders between the lawn and the building or residence. They can be replaced with decorative river rock or gravel because a prowler walking on a rock surface will likely make more noise than they would walking on wood chips. Proper lighting is also important for preventing crime. When lighting is strategically placed, it can have a substantial impact on reducing fear and the occurrence of crime. Effective lighting should allow the identification of a face from about 30 feet away for a person with normal vision.
Vehicle theft and thefts from vehicles are common crimes throughout neighborhoods in Springfield, and preventive measures should be taken to keep from becoming a victim. As the weather begins to cool, remember not to leave your vehicle running unattended and always remove the keys and lock the doors. Twenty percent of all vehicles stolen have the keys left inside, which is prohibited through City Ordinance 106-33. To prevent items from being taken out of your car, the best advice is to avoid leaving them in plain sight and always lock your doors. More information on CEPTD can be found on SPD’s website under the “Crime Prevention” tab.
There are also a couple other online tools on SPD’s website that can help you stay informed and prevent crime in your neighborhoods. The first is the LexisNexis Community Crime Map found under the “Information” tab. This tool allows citizens to research specific incidents of crime throughout the city. A wide variety of crime types are available, including motor vehicle theft, burglary, aggravated assault and more. This information is meant to empower citizens by supplying them with knowledge of what is occurring, which in turn, can help the police and the community work together to reduce incidences of crime.
Another helpful tool is to utilize SPD’s camera location registration program. Video footage is one of the best methods for identifying and apprehending criminals and convicting those who are caught in the act of committing a crime. If you have a surveillance camera, you can register it on SPD’s website under the “Crime Prevention” tab. Please note that with this program officers will not be able to monitor your camera footage. The program allows SPD to know there are cameras in the area where a crime has occurred. Officers can then request footage from the owner to see if that footage contains evidence of a crime.
Finally, never hesitate to contact your Springfield Police Area Representative (PAR) officer, with questions about crime prevention. Each PAR officer is trained in crime prevention techniques and are available to provide guidance to the citizens of Springfield. SPD recently added two new PAR officer positions in order to more effectively serve the community. There are now a total of eight PAR officers, each assigned to a specific area of the city. Identify your PAR officer and their contact information by calling 417-864-1810 or by accessing the information under the About Us section of springfieldmo.gov/SPD.