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August events designed to make Anaheim safer

The Anaheim Police Department offers residents a number of ways to get involved in the fight against crime.

2013-08-06 AFD Nat Nite Out 161-MThis month, the department hosted and participated in a number of events designed to foster partnerships and keep the community safe, beginning Aug. 6 at the annual National Night Out against crime.

The event included the whiz-bang aspects of policing with crowd-pleasing demonstrations by the K-9, SWAT and Angel helicopter units.

It also featured outstanding examples of the nuts-and-bolts of community policing: officers interacting with citizens and sharing ways they can get involved such as the PACE citizen’s academy, Jr. Cadets and Neighborhood Watch.

Hundreds of residents packed Eucalyptus Park to learn more about police work – and to express support for the men and women who keep Anaheim safe.

“My kids always see police officers in uniforms, so this event is a nice way for them to develop relationships with officers,” said residents Margaret Lloyd.

Two days later, on Aug. 8, several police leaders attended a graduation ceremony for 32 students of the Project Access Hermosa Village Center.

The six-week program taught children about conflict resolution, interpersonal skills and the pitfalls of bullying.

“I make it a point to stress family at these events because that’s where it all starts,” said Interim Police Chief Raul Quezada, who spoke at the graduation. “A strong family at home goes a long way in making our jobs easier.”

Finally, the police department’s inaugural gun “buy back” is scheduled for Aug. 24 at La Palma Park.

The idea: fewer guns on the streets makes Anaheim safer for police and citizens. So far this year, there have been four gun-related gang killings and 13 gun-related assaults.

“Too frequently, people fall victim to gun violence,” says Sgt. Bob Dunn. “Our investigations often reveal the guns used in violent crimes come from burglaries where unsecured guns are the target.”

No identification is required, and no questions will be asked. Just show up on the north side of the park between 8 a.m.-4 p.m. with your unloaded gun or rifle. The police will pay $100 for handguns and $200 for rifles. “Our goal is to collect and dispose of unwanted guns, helping to make safer neighborhoods,” Dunn said.

Hundreds join Anaheim Police at National Night Out

image003Anaheim police officers and hundreds of residents gathered at Eucalyptus Park on Tuesday night for an event to celebrate the community’s partnership with police to keep Anaheim safe.

“The National Night Out event provides the community with an opportunity to experience the crime prevention services we offer, as well as a chance interact with our officers on a more personal level,” said Sgt. Bob Dunn.

First held Aug. 7, 1984, the event has grown from 2.5 million people in 23 states to 37 million people from all 50 states.  Canadian cities have gotten involved as well.


The night consisted of a SWAT demonstration, a K-9 Unit demonstration, a helicopter display featuring Angel, one of the Department’s two helicopters, an awards presentation to community members who exemplify a commitment to community and crime prevention and booths from all areas of the Department as well as partners such as Anaheim Fire & Rescue.

In a lighter moment, motor Instructor Shane Spielman passed out “Traffic Officer” pins to a group of girls as a reward for correctly responding to pertinent yet playful questions.

“It’s important for children to view uniformed police officers as somebody they can trust and turn to for help,” said Dunn.

image001“My kids always see police officers in uniforms, so this event is a nice way for them to develop open relationships with the officers,” said Margaret Lloyd, an Anaheim resident and mother of two. “They love the equipment, and I think it’s good for them to learn how to be safe around it.”

Interim Police Chief Raul Quezada said: “We have made it a priority to maintain a positive, transparent, and dependable image in our city. It’s gratifying to see such a large turnout and so much support for the fine work the men and women of this department do every day.”

Police show ‘gang girls’ a better way

A troubling trend is developing, police say: Girls and young women are becoming more frequently involved in dangerous gang activity.

A recent example occurred in March, when two girls drove a gang member to a rival’s territory, allegedly to tag. The gang member, 17, was confronted by rivals, then shot and killed when a bullet entered the car, police said. In a car seat with the female gang associates was a 3-year-old boy.

The girls escaped without injury, and investigators arrested two juvenile gang members on suspicion of murder.

To combat the growing number of “gang girls,” the Police Department has created a unique program called “Girls Club,” which complements the department’s Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership.

The idea: To identify at-risk girls and show them there’s a better way than the gang lifestyle.

Police work with the school district and identify girls who are exhibiting troubling behavior. The girls meet monthly throughout the school year, and for many of the girls, it’s a final opportunity to change their behavior – or face expulsion.

The girls must regularly attend class, get good grades and avoid any disciplinary issues to remain involved. Female police officers are among the mentors. The officers encourage the girls to speak freely in the sessions and also challenge them to think about the consequences of their associations and decisions.

“Many of the girls just need somebody to believe in them,” said Officer LadyCarla Palomino, one of the mentors.

The most recent session ended earlier this month with 16 graduates. To honor the accomplishment, the Police Department arranged for a day of pampering that included makeovers, hair styling, new clothing and a formal brunch – all donated by community partners.

The girls started at Sephora at South Coast Plaza, which donated stylists’ time and make-up for makeovers. Then they changed into new outfits that were provided by the Orange County Family Justice Center and Forever 21. Finally, the girls, ages 12 to 14, had a formal brunch at the Anaheim Hills Golf Course.

“The goal of most of our youth-focused programs, such as GRIP, Cops4Kids and Girls Club, is to try to break the cycle of gang membership and violence to make Anaheim an even safer place to live and work for the next generation,” said Sgt. Bob Dunn.

This story was published in the Orange County Register.

Statement From The City Of Anaheim In Response To Boston Marathon Explosions

ANAHEIM, CA – (April 15, 2013) Anaheim Police Chief John Welter and Anaheim Fire & Rescue Chief Randy Bruegman issued the following statement today:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people in Boston as well as their loved ones.

In Anaheim, the Anaheim Police Department and Anaheim Fire & Rescue remain diligent in monitoring activity in Boston and any nexus to our community.  We are in contact with Federal agencies as well as monitoring local intelligence activity.

Our level of daily preparedness allows us to respond to unplanned incidents. In the event of any local emergency, police and fire agencies are ready to respond quickly and activate established response protocols.  We are in contact with our Resort, Sports and Entertainment venues to ensure preparedness for all of Anaheim’s residents, businesses and guests.

We ask the public to remain calm and vigilant.  If you see something, say something.

Anyone encountering suspicious activity should immediately call the Anaheim Police Department at 714-765-1900 or 911 with life-threatening information.

ABOUT ANAHEIM –The City of Anaheim, founded in 1857, is one of the nation’s premier municipalities and is one of California’s most populous cities.  Anaheim covers 50 square miles with more than 343,000 residents and more than 2,950 City employees.  The municipal corporation’s annual budget is $1.5 billion.  Anaheim supports a thriving business community with companies such as Carl Karcher Enterprises, Inc., L-3 Communications, Pacific Sunwear, and Disneyland Resort.

Successful sports franchises call Anaheim home, including Angels Baseball, Anaheim Ducks, the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team, the 2012 Olympic Games Silver Medal winning U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, and the Professional Arena Soccer League Anaheim Bolts.  Anaheim also boasts world-class meeting and entertainment venues with the Anaheim Convention Center, LEED-certified and the largest on the west coast, Honda Center, City National Grove of Anaheim, Anaheim GardenWalk, and Angel Stadium of Anaheim.  In addition, Anaheim embraces its vibrant cultural arts community, including the world-renowned Anaheim Ballet.  Annually, Anaheim welcomes millions of visitors to the city, truly making it where the world comes to live, work and play. For more information, please visit www.anaheim.net.


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Is predicting crime the next frontier in policing?

It’s a question Anaheim police officials constantly ask. How can they do a better job of preventing and solving crime?

Once a month, about 50 police leaders gather to discuss crime data and brainstorm the ways to address that question, which is the core of their mission.

This month, Police Chief John Welter focused for a few minutes on the next frontier – predicting crime.

New software soon to hit the market analyzes five years of crime data to predict hotspots. It looks at location, weather, time of day, time of year and more. The idea: know when and where to deploy officers so they can be there when criminals arrive.

“We have an outstanding Crime Analysis Unit,” Welter said. “But it never hurts to look at new ideas.”

Violent and gang crime is down slightly in early 2013, but robberies, stolen cars and pedestrian accidents are rising.

The number of people hit by cars rose 28 percent, to 182 in 2012. Ten people have been killed since January 2011 – nine between Anaheim Boulevard and Knott Avenue. Fifty seven percent of the collisions resulted in minor or no injuries.

Lt. Mark Cyprien said more people are likely walking or riding bicycles due to the economic downturn. “These people are interacting more with vehicles, which increases the likelihood of pedestrian-related accidents,” he said.

The Police Department is writing more tickets in areas where incidents happened. Officials are also looking at traffic patterns and engineering to find other ways to protect pedestrians.

During a burglary discussion, Crime Analyst Danielle Martell said there have been 194 residential burglaries so far this year. While digging into the data, she discovered residents on the same street where a burglary occurred are twice as likely to be a victim within a week.

In response, volunteers are distributing fliers in neighborhoods like Cerritos Boulevard, between Katella Avenue and Euclid Street, where burglars recently hit 13 homes. Although police have made arrests, they are also increasing surveillance.

One idea broached at the meeting: Can police volunteers go talk to neighbors? Many were in homes where windows were left ajar, though a few burglars smashed windows.

Knowledge is power, and in Anaheim, it’s used to thwart crime and protect residents.

Welter to police chiefs: ‘Challenging yet exciting times’

Hold the public accountable for crime prevention. Use smarter data analysis. Share information. Be prepared.

Chief Welter

To continue maintaining low crime rates, police leaders must not abandon proven crime prevention strategies – no matter the current fiscal challenges, Anaheim Police Chief John Welter said Tuesday.

His remarks kicked off the California Police Chiefs Association training symposium at Disneyland Hotel, and come as police leaders across the state struggle to fight crime with fewer resources.

Welter joined Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris in paying tribute to the 11 officers in California who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2010.

Welter will also host a town hall meeting for police chiefs on Thursday. 

“Not only are we facing the toughest economic crisis since the Great Depression,” he said. “We’re also facing the release of thousands of felons into our communities – coupled with the possibility of reducing or eliminating State Parole.”

He described it as “a perfect storm on the horizon,” and urged elected leaders to find answers to the crisis while maintaining public safety.

“As a profession, we face challenging yet exciting times,” Welter said. “A true optimist would recognize the golden opportunity we have to move the police profession toward an entirely new model.

“As we lose police officers and professional civilian staff to budget cuts, it’s imperative that we train, equip and lead our communities in real crime prevention strategies,” he said. “Getting residents and business owners to do more than just report crime has to be a priority that can’t fall to the budget-cutting axe.”

He called for his colleagues to add more volunteers, focus on intelligence-led crime prevention and commit to more dynamic neighborhood and business watch programs.

“Ongoing development of strategies like intelligence-led policing and problem-oriented policing, coupled with a strong crime analysis component, result in more effective police deployments,” he said. “If we’re smarter about how we deploy, if we reduce repeat calls for service, if we do more to prevent crime, we can become more efficient and effective.”

To read an Associated Press article that highlights the governor’s comments at the symposium, click here.

Anaheim PD Wins Grant to Prevent Domestic Sex Trafficking

Examples of young foreign girls sold into sex slavery have generated headlines following several high-profile arrests.
What hasn’t generated as much attention, according to Anaheim Police officials, are the rising numbers of American girls coerced into similar horrific situations.
The Anaheim Police Department recently won a federal grant to combat the issue of domestic human trafficking.
“It’s a serious problem that has not received adequate attention or resources,” said Lt. Julian Harvey.
The two-year, $362,330 Department of Justice grant calls for a multi-disciplinary approach involving law enforcement in partnership with Community Services Programs (CSP), a victim services provider.   

“Our application outlined a collaborative, preventive model… our goal is to return the victims to a life free from the sex trade while going after and prosecuting the traffickers,” Harvey said.