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Police aim to be scrooge for criminals
by Gary Kent
Dec 24, 2012 | 4113 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE — ’Tis the season all right, and that means police plan to be out in force for the next few months trying to catch vandals, arsonists, burglars and thieves.

Police Chief Joe Treviño said criminals need to beware because officers will arrive this winter in some unsuspected places and riding strange vehicles.

“It’s all part of our holiday safety plan,” Treviño said.

He urged all residents to take part in the effort by watching their neighbors’ property and by watching for suspicious activity when they are about town.

“Dial 911,” the chief said. But wait for police to arrive. “Don’t try to get involved yourself. Let us do it.”

Lt. Eddie Garcia and Detective Lt. Richard Cantu have recently completed a special course on all-terrain vehicle patrols, becoming certified in the new tactic.

Cantu said between October and February, property crimes increase in the city. And to catch those involved in them, officers will be out in unmarked cars and riding ATVs.

“We can be on you before you even know we’re there,” Garcia said.

“Every effort is being made to reduce crime at this time of year,” Cantu said.

Officers will be watching for vehicle, home and business burglaries, and criminals will not know they are on the street until it is too late to evade them.

Some of the crimes police hope to stop include a recent attempt to steal an automatic teller machine at the Student Union Building at Coastal Bend College and recent arson cases.

One of the worst arson incidents involved the torching of the new men’s restroom at Flournoy Park.

Treviño and Cantu said one problem they have noticed recently is some car owners are leaving unattended vehicles in school parking lots and alleys in downtown Beeville.

The vehicles are being left in dark places where no one is likely to notice a window being broken or someone ransacking the contents of the vehicles.

Although officers will be looking for vehicles parked in such areas, they are warning the owners of those cars and trucks that they cannot be everywhere. Sooner or later, those vehicle owners will return to find that their vehicles have been damaged and that they are missing valuable items.

As for arsonists, Garcia said that tipsters who offer information that could lead to an arrest and conviction can qualify for a nice reward.

Not only will the Coastal Bend Crime Stoppers organization pay rewards of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest, the BPD offers a reward of its own to witnesses who provide enough evidence to result in a courtroom conviction. Those rewards are $250 and Garcia said the BPD has paid several of those in recent years.

Treviño said drunk drivers and those who use fireworks inside the city should also beware. Officers are on the lookout for anyone driving under the influence of alcohol. The fines, lawyer fees, bail money and loss of driver’s licenses and other privileges are not worth the risk of trying to drive drunk.

Also, Beeville residents who think they must set off fireworks inside the city limits are literally playing with fire. It is illegal to use or to even possess fireworks of any type within the city limits. And residents caught violating the ordinance will find themselves in municipal court facing stiff fines.

Meanwhile, anyone acting suspiciously in any of the city parks or in the creek areas should not be surprised to look up some night to see a police officer or two riding up on them in an ATV.

Treviño said the BPD will increase the number of such patrols throughout the higher property crime period.

The chief said patrolmen and plain clothes officers will be walking and driving through the parking lots looking for suspicious activity. And they will be leaving their vehicles to walk through the businesses.

Anyone who thinks it will be easy to get away with property crimes this year could be in for a surprise.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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