Police Ask for Public's Help in Solving Crimes

Police Ask for Public's Help in Solving Crimes

<P>A recent string of shootings has St. Joseph police working extra hours. Now, they are asking the public to be proactive, in an effort to help keep the community safe.<BR></P>

Patrolling the streets of St. Joseph, Officer Greg Ogdahl is well aware of the unrest caused by a recent string of shootings.

Ogdahl has been on the force for nearly two decades. In that time, the department's seen fewer officers on the streets.

Ogdahl said, �It (crime wave) goes in spurts, it seems like we will have a time of really calmness, then all of a sudden we will hit a peak where it just kind of goes in waves. The (response) call load has definitely increased, as well as some of the severity of it."

Budget cuts have caused the department to tighten the belt, averaging one officer per district in the nine district area of St. Joseph.

That means, keeping up with crime spurts can be challenging. Just this week, police responded to two shootings in the Midtown area.

Police believe those shooting and several others are the result of rival groups going against each other. With innocent people caught in the crossfire.

Captain Kevin Castle with the St. Joseph Police Department warns, "While we do think these (shootings) are some factions that are more interested in attacking each other, the innocent bystander or persons not involved are still very much in danger."

People in St. Joseph are taking notice too. Joseph Long moved to St. Joseph from Springfield two months ago.
Long is rehabbing homes near Cathedral Hill, where he says vandals have hit several times.
He is concerned that police are stretched too thin.

Long said, "(Police) are doing exactly their job, I appreciate everything they are doing for us, but they need more, and that is going to take us (community) doing something about it."

The police department says their average response time is between 5-15 minutes.
However, with more calls and fewer officers to respond, that time can be delayed.

Police say the public can play a big role in solving crimes quickly.

Ogdahl said, "If anyone sees something going on, they need to call us, they need to be willing to step forward and say I cannot and I will not tolerate this in my community, I am going to help out as much as I can."

St. Joseph police say they have upped patrols in the Midtown area since Monday night's shooting.

Police want to remind that anyone who reports a crime can do so anonymously through their TIPS Hotline at (816)-238-T-I-P-S.

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