Officer Dan Strassenberg is the neighborhood resource officer for the South Perry District. What does that mean? That means he has an office at COPS East Central on East Fifth and he's the guy who responds to tips from neighbors about suspected drug houses, abandoned vehicles and other neighborhood concerns.
“It's my impression that South Perry has changed a lot over the past couple of years,” Strassenberg said. “The neighborhood has really improved.” His biggest concern is with Grant Park where, he said, teens tend to hangout at night – especially now when school is out.
“Parents could really help me out quite a bit with that, by not having their kids out running around unsupervised at night,” Strassenberg said.
Graffiti is always a hot button issue.
“We get yelled at a lot because we can't always stop it, but we got to see it to stop it,” Strassenberg said, adding that the only other thing that would work is 24-hour camera survelliance everywhere. “And I don't think people would like that.”
The best 'cure' for graffiti is still to paint it over or clean it up as soon as soon as it appears.
“If you see it and it bothers you, just get at it – no one is going to stop you,” said Strassenberg.
Another big problem is vehicle prowlings. These are crimes of opportunity, Strassenberg said, and it's rather amazing what people leave in their cars.
“Don't leave your purse or your laptop on the front seat, not when you are parked, not when you are driving,” he said. “And lock the doors to your car when you park, and when you drive.”
Busy and crowded parking lots are prime prowling areas, he said, because so many people come and go all the time and it's not always clear who a car belongs to.
“We are all busy, but it would help a lot of people took a minute to think about what they are doing when they leave their car,” Strassenberg said.
When it comes to burglary prevention he said the best thing you can do is leave your outdoor lights on all night.
“It may cost you a bit extra in light bulbs and power, but it's worth it,” Strassenberg said. “And take a minute to get to know your neighbors. You don't have to barbecue with them every Thursday night but share a cell phone number so they can get a hold of you.”