By Sheriff Marceno
What would you do if you saw a stranger in your neighborhood looking into windows of parked cars? Would you recognize this as suspicious activity and call police, or would you assume someone else already called? Perhaps, you would hesitate to call and report your suspicions for fear of being thought of as the neighborhood busy-body?
During a recent car burglary investigation, the Sheriff’s Office learned a resident had observed individuals trying to get into cars in the neighborhood, but did not call law enforcement. Instead, the resident shared security camera footage of the suspects on a video neighborhood app inquiring if neighbors recognized the suspects. Unfortunately, by the time our agency was notified, the suspects were long gone.
Preventing crime is a community effort and we need your help to keep our Lee County communities, safe. We encourage you to immediately report something you consider to be out of the ordinary or suspicious. If your suspicions are wrong, that’s o.k. too. Just think about what the outcome could have been had your suspicions been right, but you didn’t make the call.
What number should you call? There are two different phone numbers with two distinct functions for reporting crime. Below is an explanation of when it is appropriate to dial either 911 or our main phone number:
- 911 – If there is a life threatening emergency or you feel a crime is in progress and that the safety of you and those around you are at risk, dial it! It could be a car crash, a drunk driver, a robbery, someone with a weapon, or a physical altercation. Quite simply, an emergency is any situation requiring immediate assistance from the police, fire department or ambulance.
- 477-1000 – All non-emergency calls for past occurred offenses such as a car break-in, theft, vandalism, lost property, suspicious narcotics activity, harassing phone calls, as well as other incidents not in progress can be reported by calling our main number.
At this time, you cannot text or email 911 for help in Lee County though new technology and regulations are anticipated that will make this possible in the future. For more information on this subject, call the sheriff’s office Community Response Unit at 239-477-1CRU.