Partnerships and Education are at the heart of the VIPER concept. A majority of our crimes can be easily averted if people learn about and implement simple prevention measures. It is also crucial for citizens to get involved when crime occurs. Consider this recent burglary case.
Our 75 year old victim went to the Winn Dixie on Camino to do some shopping on July 8, 2009. After leaving the store, she puts her purse on the front passenger floorboard and loads her groceries into the trunk. As she walks around to the driver’s side, our suspect opens the passenger door and snatches the purse.
The suspect parked his car next to the victim’s vehicle for a fast getaway. The victim yells, “Stop him, stop him, he’s got my purse!” Enter two citizens who chose to get involved. The first witness unsuccessfully tries to stop the suspect (not recommended). However, he gets a good look at the offender in the process. The second witness follows the suspect’s vehicle and gets tag information for us.
Patrol officers and Tactical Team members start working the case. They search for the suspect, conduct surveillance, and successfully complete a photo line-up with our first witness. After hearing that we are looking for him, the suspect (who is on probation) turns himself in to be arrested for burglary.
This is a story of good police work, but it also illustrates the importance of citizen involvement. It is sad that you can’t leave your purse on the car seat for even a brief moment, but this is the reality of life in South Florida. You have to protect your valuables and be alert to potential threats around you.
We were successful because people got involved when the crime occurred. I do not recommend trying to physically apprehend criminals, but it is always helpful to get a good description, including accurate tag information.
We have a great community, which directly influences our high quality of life in Boca Raton. We intend to keep it that way, but can’t go it alone. Thank you for your help.