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Police calls up in Mabton, Grandview

Police departments in both Mabton and Grandview saw an increase in calls for service in 2007.

In Mabton, the increase was due in part to the fact that the police department provided 24-hour police coverage for the first time, according to Interim Police Chief Robert Perales. And that, he said, had a big impact in many different areas.

"Because we (started) 24-hour police coverage, everything just increased," Perales said. "Jail fees literally tripled and court costs doubled.

"Because we had more calls for service, we had more arrests, more court costs."

Perales said that once residents realized coverage had increased, they began calling to report suspicious activity. All told, Mabton had 67 reports of suspicious activity in 2007.

The most striking statistic for Mabton is that officers provided 241 agency assists.

When it comes to traffic incidents, Mabton had 192 cases.

Traffic problems were a big emphasis for Mabton in 2007, Perales said. At the beginning of the year, there were two major concerns, semi-trucks speeding on Main Street after coming off of Glade Road and cars racing.

"We made numerous, numerous stops on semi-trucks in that area. Once they (drivers) see a hot-spot, word gets out really quick," Perales said.

When it comes to road racers, Perales said the police department has had a big impact, but it still remains a problem. "I would say it's not as bad as before," he added.

He commended Mabton officers for updating themselves on current laws regarding illegally modified cars. Many traffic stops resulted from that.

Animal control will be a big focus in 2008, Perales said. "We're taking a big stance on that. (So far) we've issued a lot of warnings for first offenses. We're going to be issuing citations."

In 2007, Mabton had 45 cases relating to animal problems.

In Grandview, combating gang related activity was a major focus in 2007.

"This year we had a lot of emphasis on gangs and gang intervention," said Grandview Police Chief Dave Charvet. "We, like all other communities, have been seeing a surge in gang activity. We enacted a lot of updates in our title 9 (of the municipal code) this year in an effort to give us more tools."

One of those tools was to enforce parental responsibility. If juveniles are out wandering the streets after midnight, police can give their parents a citation. Charvet said that when the new code was first enforced, police issued almost a dozen citations in the first month.

Police also conducted gang emphasis patrols after school to curb gang activity. And, added Charvet, "We as a police department and as a city were able to shut down some residential areas in town where gang activity was suspected."

The results haven't always been rewarding. Last spring, Grandview requested charges against 11 juveniles after a gang fight. But Charvet said that the prosecutor wouldn't press charges. When asked why, he said, "Why? We don't know why."

Charvet said that a tremendous effort was made in 2007 to strengthen communication and build better relationships with school district administrators.

"We've been working really hard with school administrators on (issues pertaining to children), gangs, graffiti and parental issues."

Grandview had 7,579 calls for service this year, a 5 percent increase over last year. There was a slight increase in burglaries, 147 in 2007 compared to 121 in 2006, but thefts were down significantly. There were 397 theft reports in 2006, and 262 in 2007. Auto thefts are down somewhat, with 63 reported in 2007 and 69 reports in 2006.

Charvet said that focusing on gangs and gang intervention will be a continuing trend in 2008.

"This next year's going to be a challenge for us, I believe, in trying to keep control over some of these youth in the community and making inroads in parental responsibility."

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