Hartford police roll out new security initiative

Annie Ward, Hartford Police Chief
Annie Ward, Hartford Police Chief
Updated: Jan. 24, 2019 at 2:41 PM CST
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The Hartford Police Department is rolling out a new security initiative to deter property theft crimes.

HARTFORD, AL (WSFA) - The Hartford Police Department is rolling out a new security initiative to deter property theft crimes. It’s called the “9 PM Routine.” The department will send out frequent weekly reminders to citizens about securing their valuables.

“We have very few property crimes, but the ones we have are unsecured valuables and unlocked vehicles,” said Hartford Police Chief Annie Ward.

Tuesday, police responded to a report of a stolen 4-wheeler. The owner had left the keys in the ignition.

“I know we should be able to trust people and leave our stuff out,” said Ward. “That’s not the world we live in. You have to take an active role.”

The “9 PM Routine” reminds people to lock their cars, secure their valuables, and lock their homes. Easy things to stop you from being the next victim.

“It makes a criminal’s job so much easier if they don’t have to bust out a window,” said Noah Cobb, a Hartford Police patrol officer.

Cobb is often the one responding to theft incidents. While the department didn’t have exact numbers for property thefts year to year - Cobb knows he’s responded to more comparing his first year on the job in 2017 to his second year on the job in 2018.

“I would say it’s definitely increased for me. It’s doubled,” said Cobb. “Ten to 20 would be a good ratio.”

He says the majority of calls are from people who didn’t lock their items.

The most concerning item stolen during these crimes are weapons. Police have recovered two guns and arrested at least three people linked to stolen firearms from this summer. They are still actively investigating several more cases.

They’re hoping people will become more diligent about locking their valuables so more stolen guns aren’t added to their investigation list and the guns remain with the proper owner.

“If someone steals your iPhone they may steal your personal information, your bank accounts. You can get your credit fixed if someone steals your social security number. If you leave a firearm inside of an unlocked vehicle there’s no telling what hands that firearm could go to,” said Cobb. “It could be used in a robbery or murder and that’s something that you can’t fix or take back. You have to live knowing that you weren’t a responsible firearm owner.”

The chief says they also plan to have extra patrols monitoring areas.

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