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Tourist Unit’s Goal: Keep Anaheim America’s Safest City to Visit

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Anaheim is home to the biggest convention center on the west coast and Disneyland – one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations.

The TOP Team: Sgt. Tim Schmidt, Det. Rebecca Gershenoff, Det. Rafael Martins and Det. Dave Wiggins.

“Tourism is big business here,” says Anaheim Police Det. Dave Wiggins.

More than 45 million people visit the city every year, and they spend enough on hotel rooms to generate $83.5 million in bed tax revenue alone.

With all those visitors and dollars at stake, there’s significant pressure to maintain and enhance Anaheim’s reputation as a safe place to vacation and host conventions.

Enter the Tourist-Oriented Policing unit. The team, which includes Sgt. Tim Schmidt, Wiggins and Dets. Rebecca Gershenoff and Rafael Martins, works with hotel managers, resort operators and other stakeholders to prevent and solve crime.

The results?

The TOP team is a national model honored by prestigious university criminal justice programs. The FBI recently reported that Anaheim is America’s safest city to visit (with 250,000-500,000 residents).  And that’s not all.

“This program has provided us with a great sales tool in our convention and leisure marketing efforts promoting the Anaheim area,” said Charles Ahlers, president, Anaheim-Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau.

To read the rest of an interview with members of the TOP team, click here.

Chief Welter Shares New Year’s Resolutions With OC Metro

OC Metro magazine asked five business leaders, including Anaheim Police Chief John Welter, to share their professional goals for 2010.

Chief Welter

The feature, headlined “New Year’s Resolutions That Really Matter,” was published in the magazine’s December edition.

Welter offered three resolutions.

“1) Help community members partner in solving neighborhood problems: Many problems police respond to cannot be solved by the police. Problems are frequently environmental or location issues. Problem-Oriented Policing involves analyzing problems and developing responses that address why crime occurs, not just who did it. Residents and business owners need to remove the opportunities for crime to occur.

“2) Keep Anaheim police productive and effective: Reduced budgets mean fewer police officers. We have the responsibility to keep millions of residents and visitors safe. The financial success of Anaheim depends on safety, whether one lives, works or just visits our beautiful city.

“3) Provide effective, healthy choices for youth: We have been successful with our Cops 4 Kids program (C4K) and our Gang Reduction and Intervention Project (GRIP). Both focus on young people before they join a gang or engage in other destructive behaviors.”

To read the resolutions of the other business leaders, click here.