New seasons bring new issues for law enforcement.
One situation that fluctuates seasonally for the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office is the number of calls about suspicious vehicles, prowlers and burglaries, Sheriff Bill Puett said.
While it’s common that it turns out there was no issue or the suspect leaves before officers arrive, it’s always better for people to call if they are concerned, Puett said.
“If people think things are out of place and they’re suspicious or things don’t look right, it’s better to call us,” he said. “We’d rather respond to a call that is nothing than have to respond to a call where somebody has burglarized or victimized somebody in the community.”
There was a decrease in prowler calls for a portion of last year during widespread quarantine lockdowns, but numbers rebounded as more people began leaving home.
If a report is made it means a resident feels the issue is important enough to say something. The next step is to gather any information for dispatchers, Puett said.
There was a spike in such calls from concerned residents during the holidays, but many of those had an explanation, Puett said.
“Last year before the holidays there was some private contracted vehicles, and we had several calls of vans and different things in areas,” he said. “Once we identified that they were contracted from a certain company, then it was a little easier to understand what we were dealing with.”
What officers don’t want is for someone to put themselves in harm’s way, Puett said.
“What we don’t want, obviously, is someone to go out there and say, ‘Excuse me, I need to take a picture of your license plate so I can call the sheriff,’ you know?” he said. “When I say do it without confrontation, that’s what we’re talking about.”
Someone engaged in criminal activity isn’t likely to be receptive to a confrontation, Puett said.