Police Hope National Night Out Will Bring People Out

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Burglaries are on the rise, but Payson Police hope the National Night Out will get people out of their homes, to meet their neighbors and become more willing to help cut down on crimes.

On Wednesday night at the community meeting at Town Hall, Police Chief Don Engler said police are starting to see a rise in residential and commercial burglaries and criminal activity. Construction equipment, artwork, antiques and cars have been stolen recently.

Police Lt. Donald J. Garvin said a rise in burglaries directly relates to the drug trade. "When it is heavy, we see a rise in criminal activity," Garvin said.

No specific areas of town have been hit more than others.

"Intervention is key," Engler said. If residents make it more difficult for criminals to operate in this community, they will move on or police will catch them, "because criminals are opportunists."

Kim Becker, police administrative assistant, said National Night Out, on Aug. 5, is a time for residents to go outside their homes, turn on their lights, lock the doors and meet their neighbors.

"If you know them, then you will be more likely to be aware of any strange activity," she said.

National Night Out is both a crime prevention effort and family fun days, Becker said.

On Aug. 2 the police department is hosting a day of activities at Green Valley Park.

The day will feature multiple events, including a chili cook-off, poster contest, climbing wall, fishing pond, toy walk, dunk tank, police vs. firefighters tricycle relay race, diaper derby, petting zoo and much more.

A shuttle from the high school to the park will run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

"There is going to be a lot of fun taking place, but there is also a serious side," Engler said. "It is to bring us all together and to get to know one another."

Several law enforcement agencies will attend and it is the time to, "ask the questions to get the information you always wanted to know," Engler said.

A silent witness program, set up six months ago, has not received a lot of tips, Engler said. Anyone with information on a crime can call HOT-TIPS (468-8477) anonymously.

Also at the meeting, attended by less than 10 people, Garvin was introduced as the new police lieutenant. Garvin is in charge of the fleet and helps Engler with projects.

As lieutenant, Garvin will hire and retain more officers and deal with the drug problem.

"We have got to set up good incentives to attract officers, besides living in a great community," Garvin said.

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