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‘A Worried Neighborhood’: Police respond to concerns

Our station reported a story last week called “A Worried Neighborhood.”

Some folks in the numbered streets west of Bel Air in Idaho Falls said they felt police weren’t taking crime complaints seriously in their neighborhood.

On Monday, our station spoke to Idaho Falls Police chief Steve Roos about the concerns.

Roos said police do care about the neighborhood. In fact, he said, the department understands the area to have a higher crime rate than many other parts of the city, based on reports filed by officers.

He said neighborhoods with higher crime rates are typically paid more attention than those without higher crime rates.

Andrea James lives at 2nd and Emerson in the middle of the neighborhood. She spoke with our station on Thursday, and detailed a disturbance from 2 weeks earlier.

‘He was drunk, he was trying to break into people’s cars,” said James.

She said a man was launching fireworks at cars and buildings.

“Not only did we call twice, but our downstairs neighbor called twice and they didn’t show up til about 3 in the morning, and we started calling at 1:30 in the morning,” said James.

But according to a police report, officers did come. An officer arrived a few moments after Andrea’s husband Van called dispatch.

Police said the man ran from cops, and hid in his apartment.

“We actually hunted the guy down, and caught up with him two days later and issued him a citation for disturbing the peace,” said Idaho Falls Police chief Steve Roos.

Roos took a walk through the neighborhood with our station on Monday.

He said officers are patrolling and responding to concerns. He said it can be frustrating to hear folks feel differently.

“I think part of the problem with that is that we don’t do a good enough job with follow through to say, ‘Hey, here’s the outcome, here’s what action we took,'” said Roos.

James said it’s things like BB-Gun dents in the stop sign by her corner that make her feel ignored. On Monday, Roos said it’s just not the case.

“I guess what I’d like to say is we really are taking action, and we do spend a disproportionate amount of time in neighborhoods like this if they are experiencing crime problems,” said Roos.

Roos said organizing an active Neighborhood Watch is always one of the best options for people to feel safer.

Roos said the department is eager to help the numbered streets get a neighborhood watch going. He said there needs to be a pretty large number of participants to make it work effectively.

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