• Ask a Cop

    Got a question? Send it to Lt. Bob Dunn, public information officer. We'll publish answers to the most interesting ones.
  • Need Help?

    For non-emergencies, call (714) 765-1900.
    911 for emergencies
  • RSS Anaheim News

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS OC Crime News

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Welter: Gang Crime and Terrorism Remain Serious Threats

Hundreds of California’s top criminal investigators gathered in Anaheim this week for a conference aimed at improving the fight against organized crime and international terrorism.

Chief Welter

“We need to detect, deter and intervene in criminal activities whenever possible,” Police Chief John Welter said. “But now more than ever we need to reach out to our communities to help.”

Hosted by the Asian Gang Investigators Association of California, the conference – which started Monday and ends today at the Disneyland Hotel – featured seminars on topics such as “Women and Terrorism in Our Culture – Is it Possible?” and “The Active Shooter Paradigm.”

In his remarks, Welter cited recent research that showed the importance of following up on suspicious behavior to thwart terrorism.

He also highlighted APD’s efforts to integrate intelligence sharing from street cops to intelligence officers – inside and out of the police department.

The department employs 40 “Terrorism Liaison Officers” who are trained to catch criminals before they act. They also help potential victims harden targets. Across Orange County, more than 770 law enforcement, military, medical and fire officials have completed the training, he said.

Welter also shared the key role the private sector plays in securing potential targets such as fuel storage tanks, mass transit and entertainment venues.

“We also need to do more about helping our community members recognize criminal behavior and then report what they see,” he said. “The domestic terrorism threat is more complex than reporting a burglary in progress.”

In Anaheim, a new “Suspicious Activity Report” was developed to record any activity that may be tied to terrorism, he said. In 2009, APD received 100 such reports. More than 80 have been processed this year.

An example would be somebody buying supplies that could be used to make bombs.

But law enforcement must tread carefully in this area, he said.

“Civil rights issues are of great concern to all of us in the policing profession,” he said. “We realize the success of any suspicious activity reporting outreach depends on the ability to earn and maintain the public’s trust.

“We must be as transparent in our practices as possible without releasing sensitive or confidential investigative information.”

Public Safety Involves More Than Having Officers Respond to Crime, Chief Says

More than 500 police experts from around the globe gathered Monday at the Disneyland Hotel to share success stories and new strategies for engaging the public in the fight against crime.

Chief Welter POP

Chief Welter addresses the conference crowd

“We all need to be ready to make the case for public safety being more than just having officers respond to crime,” said Anaheim Police Chief John Welter at the 20th annual “Problem-Oriented Policing Conference.” “In the long run, a problem solving strategy is so much more effective and financially efficient.”

The conference features three days of seminars from top law enforcement officials and criminal justice academics.

Coined by University of Wisconsin professor Herman Goldstein, Problem-Oriented Policing (POP) emphasizes research, analysis, prevention and the participation of public and private organizations.

“Most of our private sector partners require just a little help and direction,” Welter said. “But we all need to lead that effort by providing accurate and convincing crime information… and then following up with concrete examples of what community members can do – and how they can do it.”

David Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay University in New York, noted several simple ways police can deter repeat offenders. One involves more honest and direct communication.

“If all you do is tell them (how to avoid prison) – you get huge changes in behavior,” he said, adding, “no sane human being wants to go to prison.”

Kennedy also encouraged police to think beyond the traditional criminal justice system – to informal social controls – in developing deterrence strategies.

An effective technique involves family member participation.David Kennedy's "Deterrence and Crime Prevention"

“Most offenders harbor real doubts about what they are doing,” he said. “When they don’t care – get the people around them to care.”

To illustrate the power of the strategy, he asked: “When you were a kid, how many of you were afraid of police officers?”

Only a few hands went up.

“How many were afraid of your mother?”

Most hands went up.

Most offenders still listen to their mothers, friends or other influencers, he said.

“Just find the pressure points wherever you can,” he said.

Later this week, the Herman Goldstein Award will be given to a police agency that exhibited innovation and effective use of POP techniques to resolve a community problem. Anaheim PD was a finalist for the award in 2007 for its effort in cleaning up The Boogie! nightclub. To read APD’s submission, click here

For more about the conference or POP strategies, visit the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing’s Web site here and download one of its many innovative guides.