by MITCH HARVATIN
The Kent County Sheriff’s Department (KCSD) and Cannon Township have teamed up to fight crime overnight. Cannon Township has hired the KCSD to patrol extra hours after township officials saw a growth in crime productivity, especially in the Lake Bella Vista area.
“We see a spike in calls during the summer time, and they will drop in September,” said Lieutenant Scott Brown of the KCSD.
Brown added, “The citizens need to help us out. They need to close their garage doors at night. They need to make sure they lock their cars, their windows, their houses and, if they are financially able to, they need to keep their lights on outside overnight. They need to make it difficult for someone to rob their house.” He goes on to say that minors usually break in to garages to steal alcohol from refrigerators.
Cannon Township taxpayers are paying $13,327.36 to keep an extra officer in the township between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m., not just patrolling Lake Bella Vista, which Brown clearly addressed. “If we receive a call somewhere else in that township, we go,” he said.
According to a press packet from Cannon Township Clerk Bonnie Blackledge, the KCSD conducted 76 property checks/foot patrols, 50 traffic stops, 10 general assigned complaints, nine suspicious persons/situations, four minors in possession of alcohol, one drug violation and one drunk-driving arrests between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m. on just two days, May 22 and June 30. Other than conducting regular traffic stops, the KCSD responded to vandalism calls, larceny from an auto, stalking, alcohol-minor in possession, and registered sex offender contact all in section nine, which is primarily Lake Bella Vista.
The KCSD assigns one officer to Cannon Township until 4 a.m. four days a week. The other three days a week, the KCSD patrols until midnight. On the days they are not patrolling or it’s past midnight, the KCSD’s district car patrols a wide area of northern Kent County, not just Cannon Township, but will respond to calls in the township.
Brown wants to make sure residents in Lake Bella Vista know that if they see a crime in progress to call 9-1-1. If it’s not an emergency, call the KCSD’s non-emergency number at (616) 336-3113. You may use the Silent Observer tip-line at (616) 774-2345 or you can “Text a Tip” to CRIMES with “TIP138.”