Zone Five residents got to sit down with their zone officers and go over statistics for the past year and ask questions during the Newton Police Department’s Cops and Neighborhoods United meeting Tuesday evening.
The 2019 statistics for zone five looked good compared to the previous year with the only two areas going up being thefts and assaults. NPD Sgt. Chris Wing was on hand to break down the stats for those in attendance.
“Obviously you can see your actual calls for service has gone down, arrests have gone down so those are both good things and your criminal mischief’s have been cut by more than half,” Wing said.
One thing Wing said was the thefts in the zone did go up but it was common throughout all of the zones in Newton due to a large number of break ins that occurred duing a three month span last year.
“Fortunately we caught most of those people and it has calmed back down again,” Wing said.
There were plenty of questions brought up during the Zone Five meeting Tuesday evening. One in particular was about mental health issues in Newton. Wing said the number one thing they deal with are mental health issues.
“We spend a ton of time being social workers and counselors as opposed to being police officers,” Wing said.
One issue with mental health said by Wing was the potential for NPD support while transporting these individuals to MercyOne Newton Medical Center and time officers are taken off the streets.
“If they are on a 72-hour hold that means there is potentially 72 hours that we have to have an officer sitting up there with them. So that is a huge drain on our resources,” Wing said.
Once the question portion rolled around, the general consensus was the community needs to take advantage of helping the NPD do its job by offering tips and calling things in when they think it might be important information.
“When you suspect suspicious activity we all need to start doing our part,” Jack Suttek of Newton said.
This sentiment was echoed by Wing as he said during his time in investigations the things people saw but might not have called in could have potentially been information needed to solve a crime.
“If it is important enough to you to call then it needs to be called in,” Wing said.
Wing and the zone five officers Randy Oldfied and Nathan Popenhagen were able to hear the concerns and feedback those that reside within their zone and also answer any questions they had.
“Life is good on 13th Avenue thanks to you guys,” Sharry McGuire of Newton said.
The next meeting is zone two and is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Feb. 17 at the First United Methodist Church at 210 N. 2nd Ave. E. in Newton.
Contact Dustin Teays at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or firstname.lastname@example.org