South Bend Police Regional Crime Meetings help police connect with residents to stop crime

Would you like to know about crime in your neighborhood and be able to share your concerns with police?

If you live in South Bend, you have several opportunities to have your questions answered.

It is called the South Bend Police Regional Crime Meeting, and it is held the first Thursday of every month at police headquarters on West Sample.

It is a great resource for folks looking to stay safe in their neighborhoods.

Once a month, South Bend residents come to the auditorium at police headquarters for a monthly crime debriefing.

SBPD Crime Prevention Specialist Sgt. Patrick Hechlinksi says, “We give out information from the previous month's crimes, and we tell people what's gone up and what's gone down. We let them know about burglary trends, robbery trends, whether cars are being stolen, that sort of information, and we present it to the public so they know what's happening in their neighborhood.”

There is a power point presentation, and residents are given handouts for each quadrant of the city, listing the number of crimes by category, their approximate location, date, and time.

Residents are armed with information they can use to protect themselves and their neighbors and help police, when possible.

“I think it's a nice way for us to be transparent as to what's going on, crime wise, in the city. It gives us interaction with the citizens. Showing them where the crimes are occurring, so if they live in those areas, they can be eyes and ears for us and be willing to contact police and report suspicious activity, in greater hopes of having an apprehension for whoever is out there doing the crimes…We had a call last night, a burglary in progress where neighbors sat there and watched somebody scoping around the house, and our officers were actually able to go out there and actually arrest the person as he left the area."

Representatives from South Bend's newly formed burglary unit now attend the meetings.

Hechlinski says that has been a great addition to the program.

“They give updates, as well, to burglary cases, how many they've solved or unsolved, what they're looking for. Sometimes, these people at the meetings have some information to pass on to those guys that can lead to an apprehension.”

Also, residents are free to do their own interrogations at these gatherings.

South Bend resident Jennifer Tindell says, “It definitely has given me more of a sense of hope that the city really is listening, that the police department is just not theoretically responding to what we're asking to do, but they're really taking an interest in what we see as problems in the community, and they're responding, and I find it very helpful.”

It is open to all South Bend residents.

The next meeting is Thursday, March 1st at 6:45 p.m.

A good number of those who attend are involved in neighborhood watch.

The hope is that, by attending one of these meetings, more people will get involved in neighborhood watch.

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