Editor’s note: In response to a request for information on recent burglaries in Bristol, the Bristol police chief, Kevin Gibbs, provided the Independent with this letter, which he had send to a correspondent on the online Front Page Forum.
As you may have heard The Bristol Police Department has received an increased number of both residential and non-residential burglaries this year as well as a robbery at a local business. Even with major manpower shortages (two full-time officers doing the work formerly done by four) several of the burglaries have been solved and arrests made, there are still others that are under investigation. Officers, when not responding to or investigating other complaints, are following up on leads, tracking down possible suspects and analyzing evidence recovered from the scenes. We are also working with other county law enforcement agencies as well as federal [law enforcement] agencies in an effort to solve these crimes.
Things you can do: We want to make you aware of these crimes so that you may take steps to protect your homes and businesses and inform your employees. We ask that you be more aware who is walking or driving in your neighborhood, entering your businesses and make note of any suspicious persons, incidents or vehicles. If someone or something appears out of place to you, please call us at the time the incident or person is seen so we can try to identify the person(s) involved and check into their activity. Try to obtain as much information as possible, i.e. physical descriptions or plate numbers from vehicles. Do not put yourself in danger to get this information.
We also ask that you take steps to protect your interests. Make sure all doors and windows of your home, business or vehicle are well secured when appropriate. Also try not to leave excessive quantities of cash inside your home or business, especially when no one is there. Keep valuables like cash locked in some kind of safe or locked cabinet that can not be easily removed. We have seen an increased number of businesses that have installed security systems and or video surveillance systems to better protect their stores and employees. Though these systems can be costly, your business or homeowner’s insurance rates might be reduced as a result. In one recent case the alarm at a local business was activated, scaring off the intruder, which resulted in no loss to the business.
Things we can do to help you: Although staffing shortages have forced us to be far more reactionary than proactive you may contact our office to schedule a security assessment of your home or business and we will make recommendations to you on ways to make your home or business more secure and recommend things you can do that could help us in an investigation if you should still become a victim of one of these crimes. Given staffing issues we will make every effort to respond to your request in a timely manner. Business owners can also contact us to provide funds escorts for bank deposits. Officers can also respond at the end of your business day to escort you or your employees to their vehicles if you or they feel uncomfortable walking alone. We currently offer and conduct business checks at night, checking doors and windows on your closed businesses. If we find a problem we contact known key holders. A similar service is available to homeowners who will be away from home for some time.
By working together we can make our community safer and hopefully prevent continued problems like the ones we have been experiencing. If you have any questions, have any information related to any investigation, wish to talk to an officer, or would like a security assessment, please contact us at 453-2533 at anytime.
Chief Kevin E. Gibbs