North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Proactive policing helps fight crime

Police and city officials attribute reduced crime numbers to proactive policing initiative


October 18, 2017 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

Marysville police officer Jeff VandenBerg gets some additional information through the radio after detaining an individual for an outstanding warrant on Oct. 13.

The City of Marysville crime statistics showed a drop in most crimes in 2016 and that trend is continuing into 2017.

"We're on a road where are numbers are lower than they were last year," said Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith.

The 2016 report for the city already showed a drop in most crimes as well.

"I think we have a great record over the past five years," said Smith. "With nuisance crime in particular, I think people are really seeing a decline."

Many city officials said that the police efforts to get in front of problems was helping to reduce the number of crimes.

"I think it shows that our proactive policing is working," said Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring.

"I think proactivity and the general approach of helping the community get better in various ways has been really helpful," said Marysville police officer Jeff VandenBerg.

Work to find potential crime before it happens is an important part of the department, said Smith.

"Most people who look at policing think it's about responding to calls, and that is absolutely part of our mandate. However, we also want to work to get ahead of the problem, too," he said.

The time when not responding to calls can be used to find potential criminal activity, said VandenBerg.

"As police officers we always have calls for service if there was an accident or something was stolen, but in-between those calls you have time to go out and look for things," he said. "To see if I can catch someone speeding or using drugs."

VandenBerg said he goes to areas where he knows people have had concerns.

"We have the Lakewood Crossing area up by Costco and those businesses have had a really hard time with vehicle prowls and theft, to the point where they feel their customers are being victimized," he said.

Some of those businesses have issued 'No Trespass' orders against specific individuals which VandenBerg said he has used to help stop suspicious behavior.

"Just last week there was a person who was trespassing and I booked him into jail," he said.

"Maybe I deterred a crime, maybe he was going to steal something, maybe he already did, but it's that approach that hey, this person knows they shouldn't be doing that, and if we can deal with it ahead of time then maybe we curb the problem," he said.

Smith said that the department has increasingly invested in looking at the statistics from Marysville to find emerging trends and problems as well.

"There's a number of initiatives starting that will help to put a dent in the property crime numbers," said Nehring.

"They are identifying areas where we've had issues with crime, drug-related activity and illegal camping," he said.

Smith said that when looking at areas with lots of drug-related activity the department is taking a two-pronged approach.

"The first is the social aspect, providing support and help to those that want it, and the second is providing consistent enforcement whether that be for illegal camping or aggressive panhandling," he said.

Nehring said that positive help would be the preferred option. "That would be the ideal route, for them to get treatment," he said. "If they're not going to accept that though, then we will take a look at the problem from a law enforcement angle," he said.

Christopher Andersson

photo BY CHRISTOPHER ANDERSSON Marysville police officer Jeff VandenBerg places some items from an individual's pocket on the hood of his car after detaining him for an outstanding warrant on Oct. 13.

Those transient criminal issues are going to continue to be a focus for the department, said Smith.

"A good chunk of crime in the city is, at the root of it, because of drugs," said Nehring.

Nehring hopes the next couple of years at the department includes more officers.

"We're going to see an increasing in staffing," he said.

VandenBerg said he knows the city is growing and hopes the department keeps pace.

"It's a fast-paced city, but my hope that we get bigger as the problems grow and we can actually get ahead of it so things don't ever get out of hand here," he said.

The department is also planning on more partnerships with Arlington and Snohomish County.

"We're trying to put some plans together about how we can work together," said Smith. "And that partnership is important because criminals don't see jurisdictional borders."


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