BERWYN – The Berwyn Police Department is rolling out the new “9 p.m. Routine” initiative, which reminds residents via social media to lock their homes and cars before turning in for the night.
The Police Department recently posted crime statistics to its Facebook page, showing total index crimes estimated in 2017 at 1,310 compared to a total index of 1,408 in 2016. The crime rate per 1,000 residents fell from 25.01 in 2016 to 23.27 estimated in 2017.
Police Chief Michael Cimaglia said about 80 percent of the crime in Berwyn is burglary and theft, including retail theft. He said Berwyn does not experience many violent crimes, but most violent crimes are aggravated battery and domestic battery.
Cimaglia hopes the new initiative will help the rates of theft and burglary to fall even more.
“Residents can help reduce crime. We’re trying to promote a partnership between the police and the community,” he said. “Most thefts are crimes of opportunity, and by locking doors, people are taking away an opportunity for offenders. We’re hoping [the initiative] gets bigger, and we’re definitely going to continue it.”
Wayne Sedore, manager of emergency communications, brought the 9 p.m. Routine to the Berwyn Police Department. He attended a training course in November in Louisville and learned about the initiative from other departments that were using it. Sedore posts the reminder on social media every night at 9 p.m.
“This has become a national thing and has had a phenomenal response,” he said. “I thought it was a good way to spread the word. If even half of the thefts and burglaries can be prevented, it’s in our best interest to get that reminder out there and encourage residents to take an active role in their safety.”
While it’s too soon to tell if the initiative has made a difference in lowering crime, Cimaglia attributes the decrease in crime to more aggressive policing and the closure of Meijer, which he said accounted for a lot of retail theft.
“When Mayor [Robert] Lovero came into office in 2009, one of his platforms was reducing gangs and drugs and fighting crime,” he said. “We took crime head on, and it’s worked. Our city is very safe. We have at least 10 officers on the street 24 hours a day. They’re always patrolling businesses and alleyways, and our response time is less than a minute. I feel ecstatic that crime is dropping but would like to see it drop even further.”
Cimaglia also said residents can attend the Citizens Police Academy, a free, 10-week course that covers how officers are trained, how they handle calls and responses, and much more. The program is open to Berwyn residents or anyone who works in the city.
“It’s very eye-opening, and after the program is over, they can participate in Citizens on Patrol or volunteer with the department,” he said. “We use volunteers any chance we can get. We want the public to work with us. They can help reduce crime.”