Feb 20

School Safety

Posted on February 20, 2018 at 11:58 AM by Adam Rosen

In the wake of the horrible tragedy that took place in Florida, the Peoria Police Department reminds parents and students to be mindful when it comes to school safety. Anyone, regardless of age, who posts threats towards persons or places, will be held accountable for the contents of those postings. These types of threats are taken extremely seriously by law enforcement and those who post such threats will be prosecuted. 

It is important that parents communicate openly with their children and subscribe to the same social media accounts that their children are permitted to be a part of. A responsible adult must consistently monitor the content of social media posts by children and any violations should be reported immediately. If you or your child sees a threatening post, call the Peoria Police Department at 623-773-8311. If anyone witnesses any violent act on school grounds, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Parents are encouraged to sit down and talk with their children reference social media and the consequences of posting derogatory, copycat or threatening information. If your child sees a threat posted on social media, advise them to tell you or another responsible adult right away. Many times, children assume that what they post on social media is merely between friends and that no one else will see it or it will not be taken seriously. Even young children, are susceptible to arrest and detention if found to have posted a threat on social media. 

The Peoria Police department has excellent school resource officers on our high school campuses who work hard every day to ensure the safety of our students. Together, with the community’s help, we can keep our schools safe. 
Feb 09

Keep Your Vehicle Safe - Lock Your Doors

Posted on February 9, 2018 at 2:51 PM by Adam Rosen

The crime of vehicle burglary occurs when items left inside a vehicle are stolen. This type of crime can be effectively prevented by making sure that you lock your vehicle at all times (even when it is inside your garage), removing items of value inside your vehicle and never leaving visible items that could be determined to be valuable in plain sight.

Property loss from vehicle burglaries can be very costly, this, plus the emotional loss and heartache, can make this crime far more serious than it appears. The lengthy process of cancelling credit cards, contacting banks, re-creating important documents can be overwhelming and for those citizens who have ever lost or had a cell phone stolen, the process of obtaining a new one can be exhausting.

Help yourself remember to lock your doors by establishing a sound routine whenever you exit your vehicle. This routine should include conducting a visual inspection of your vehicle to ensure no valuables are left inside, then lock your vehicle and double-check that the vehicle is locked.  Next, once you exit your vehicle, take one last look from outside of your vehicle to ensure nothing is visible to passer-bys who may come upon your vehicle. By establishing a routine check list that you conduct each time you exit your vehicle, you increase the chances of always locking your doors, hence, reducing the chance that your vehicle will be victimized.

Lastly, make it a habit to never store a weapon in your vehicle, not even for a minute.  Weapons are one of the most common items removed from vehicles when well-meaning, lawful owners leave their weapons in their vehicles unattended. 

Remember:  Lock your car, take your keys, hide or remove your belongings.    

Feb 07

Tackling Homelessness in Peoria

Posted on February 7, 2018 at 4:54 PM by Adam Rosen

Employees of the Peoria Police Department are frequently asked about homeless persons in our city and residents inquire why homeless persons or panhandlers cannot be arrested. The answer is that the United States Supreme Court has ruled that panhandling is constitutionally protected free speech. If an individual wants to panhandle on public property, they are within their legal rights; however, they cannot panhandle on private property without permission of the property owner.  Individuals panhandling cannot be on center medians or in the roadway.   

Being homeless is not illegal; however, other activities such as urban camping, trespassing, public urination and littering are illegal.  If you witness these illegal activities in or around your neighborhood, you can call the Peoria Police Department non-emergency line at 623-773-8311. Officers do take enforcement action against persons committing these crimes, however, a misdemeanor arrest does not solve the underlying problem and the arrestee will remain homeless.

One common misconception the public has is that all panhandlers are homeless and all homeless are panhandlers.  This could not be further from the truth.  A large percentage of those pan handling, including those our citizens see every day on our street corners, have a place to stay, but for one reason or another, choose to panhandle instead of seeking employment or accepting services from organizations that can help them. Very frequently, the person is not yet willing to try to seek help for the root cause of their situation.  Instead, they accept money by standing on street corners and accepting donations from well meaning, good-hearted citizens, who think they are helping a person in need.  Unfortunately, these generous citizens are actually hurting the panhandlers and enabling them to avoid seeking help for their long-term problem.

Since forming the Peoria Police Department Homeless and Crisis Intervention Team, we have contacted over 400 homeless individuals in our city.  Some success stories include a veteran who was able to get help to become sober and the team assisted him with finding housing.  The team assisted a homeless couple by locating funds to purchase airline tickets to send them home to family for support.  The male half was able to get a job and the couple got their first apartment together.  The team assisted a man who was homeless for five years and got him assistance and he has now moved into his own apartment.  The team also put a pregnant homeless female who had been addicted to drugs back in touch with her family who was happy to help her get further assistance. Clearly, those who do accept help from the team do very well.

Most residents want to help others and seeing someone panhandling pulls at most of our heartstrings. Giving money and even food items to these individuals only provides a Band-Aid effect and does not serve to end the long-term problem. The best way for concerned citizens to help those experiencing homelessness or panhandling is for them to donate to one of the many organizations in the valley who are dedicated to helping those in need, such as local charities, shelters and rehabilitation centers.