Monday, February 27, 2012

We all can do more to take a bite out of crime

Crime always is a hot topic in any community. Folks fear it, want to learn how to prevent it, and loathe when they fall victim to it.

None of our communities are insulated from crime, including our central business districts. For the most part, according to F.B.I. statistics, crimes of opportunity continue to be the most prevalent in the Birmingham-Bloomfield area, and overall crime actually has decreased since the mid-1980s.

Birmingham Police Chief Don Studt attended the February meeting of the Birmingham Principal Shopping District to discuss crime patterns in the central business district. Studt reiterated that it simply is not true that crime is on the increase in the community; rather crime reporting by an ever growing number of media outlets is fostering that notion.

While Studt’s report overall was reassuring to the P.S.D. board, he did stress that local merchants and shoppers can do more to keep the crime rate low. Larcenies, store theft and burglaries continue to incur because, well, we sometimes make it easy for criminals to ply their trade.

Studt said we all need to follow a few simple rules to help reduce crime:
Lock your car doors when you park and don’t leave valuables in plain view on the front seat.

Lock the door and windows of your house when you leave
Carry your purse close to your body when walking to and from your destination
Be aware of your surroundings after dark or in unfamiliar places
If you are a merchant, don’t place valuables and easy-to-carry items near an exit
To help both merchants and residents from becoming a crime statistic, local law enforcement has deployed to new forms of technology to assist in the fight.

Studt’s department recently deployed the Nixle Communication Information System, which allows the police to create and publish messages to be delivered instantly to subscribers, via text message or email. Access to the alert system is available simply by registering at or simply by sending a text message with the zip code of 48009. Police Commander Terry Kiernan is happy to answer any questions about the system at (248) 530-1865.

Joe Bauman is President of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber. He welcomes feedback at