2017-02-02 / Front Page

Burton Neighborhood Watch keeping residents aware

BY TANYA TERRY
810-452-2645 • tterry@mihomepaper.com

BURTON — The Burton Neighborhood Watch met for the first time this year on Jan. 24 at the Burton Police Department, and the attendees said they felt confident the group would achieve its goal of helping to make Burton a safer place to live this year.

Burton Police Chief Thomas Osterholzer was in attendance to talk to the group about crime and offer suggestions to residents.

“To say there’s more crime in a certain area is tough,” said Osterholzer. “In different areas, we find different types of crimes. In some areas, there are kids breaking into cars. In other areas, home break-ins are more common. Obviously, in some areas we’re able to detect more drug activity.”

Osterholzer said the city is broken into districts. There is a first, second and third shift officer, as well as one detective assigned to each district.

“This allows officers to get to know the residents better and enables them to do a better job policing,” said Osterholzer.

Osterholzer said the officers were dispatched to various scenes. He added anytime there were a large number of cars and poor lighting, there are car larcenies.

“In what was then Ice Mountain Ice Arena there were once car larcenies,” said Osterholzer. “They’ve got better lighting now.”

Osterholzer said 95 percent of car larcenies were committed by younger kids.

“If they see the door is locked, they usually go on to the next car,” Osterholzer said. “There are very few car larcenies in which the windows are busted out.”

Osterholzer said when people call the police station when they suspect their neighbor’s home or car was being broken into, it could help prevent crime.

“You picking up the phone to call us is proactive,” he said. “You’re looking out for your neighbor.”

Osterholzer also said that dialing 911 was not only beneficial to use in the case of an emergency, but 911 could be useful anytime a resident needs to get in contact with a police officer.

“911 is the way to contact us,” he said. “We use a computer dispatch system now. If you call the secretary, she has to call 911 to get an officer dispatched.”

One resident who attended the meeting, Jim Craig, said he thought having more police officers now was helping the crime situation in Burton.

“We live in a decent neighborhood,” said Craig, who lives in Hidden Trails community, on the Davison Township/Burton border. “A couple years ago, kids were egging houses, breaking landscape lights in driveways and knocking mailboxes off the posts with baseball bats. All of a sudden, when they got more police officers, the officers would come out a lot sooner after we called. Apparently, the kids got scared. We haven’t been having any more problems.”

Another resident, Ron Baugh, who is co-chairman of the Burton Neighborhood Watch, said he has not been broken into since he’s lived in Burton. He was the victim of a home burglary, however, when he lived in the country in Millington several years ago. He said before that happened, he never thought he would be a victim of theft. He also said he felt hopeful he could help others to prevent crimes like he experienced.

“I think 2017 is going to be the year we’re going to make a change,” Baugh said. “We’re going to make Burton safer and safer.”

Osterholzer said attending the Burton Neighborhood Watch meetings were always worthwhile for him.

“As long as you’ve got people coming to these meetings, you have people who care about their community,” he said.

The next Burton Neighborhood Watch is scheduled for Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Burton Police Department, 4090 Manor Drive.

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