With the suggestion of Colusa Police Officer, Chad LeBlanc, the department hosted its first ‘Coffee with a Cop’ community meeting on Thursday, March 12, 2015.
“We wanted to create a public forum, in a neutral surrounding to allow community members to communicate and discuss the concerns of their community,” said Colusa City Chief of Police, Josh Fitch.
The unscripted event was hosted at Market Street Grill in Colusa where a dozen community members came to see what the event was all about – all while enjoying a cup of coffee.
Discussion with Business Owners
“I am happy with what our police does in our community,” said business owner, Lori Garofalo, “I really like the slips that get put under our doors letting us know an officer checked my business that night.”
Chief Fitch commented that the business checks are done in the evenings between calls and is an effort to let businesses know the police department is watching out for them.
“At first it was a little unnerving to get the notices at first,” said Garofalo, “I thought something was wrong, but they were just being proactive and looking out for me.”
Chief Fitch added that if a businesses door is found to be unlocked, the officers will check the building and then secure it if possible or making contact with the business owner.
Discussion with Residents
Chief Fitch requested that Colusa Community members contact the police department if they find anything unusual in their neighborhoods.
“Most often, you will know and understand your area,” said Chief Fitch, “You will be able to recognize any unusual activity quickly, and that is when you should give us a call.”
Chief Fitch also issued an advisory to Colusa Community members to lock their homes, cars, and secure their belongings that can be quickly taken.
“Many of the items stolen like bicycles, lawn mowers, and other yard items, are stolen because they are not secured,” said Chief Fitch, “many believe their items won’t be taken; however, it’s only a matter of time if not properly secured.”
Chief Fitch also warned of leaving valuables in vehicles.
“Don’t leave your valuable possessions in your vehicle, if you can help it,” said Chief Fitch, “If items must remain in your car, hide them out of plain sight and remember to lock your car doors.”
According to Chief Fitch, most vehicle burglaries in Colusa from vehicles left unlocked.
“Most of the time when items are taken, it is because the car was left unlocked. We rarely see car windows broken to gain access to items,” said Chief Fitch.
“It’s not just the purse, electronics, or photos that you will loose, thieves today are looking for credit cards, identification, checks, and social security cards,” said
Fitch, “identity theft is a huge problem across the country and is a tremendous hassle.”
Chief Fitch also discussed helping neighborhoods setup informal ‘Neighborhood Watch Programs’ to help the community be proactive to crime.
“The key is to talk to your neighbors, and be vigilant about your surroundings,” said Chief Fitch, “and to share contact information between your neighbors.”
Chief Fitch commented that interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch Program, to reach him by calling (530) 458-7777 to set up an appointment.
Chief Fitch commented that recently there has been an increase of Graffiti around town and residents are urged to report the activity as soon as possible.
“There recently has been a rise in gang-related graffiti and we ask residents to report it when they see it,” said Chief Fitch, “We are also working with Kelleher Paint to cover up the graffiti at no charge.”
Community Members Approve Communications
“I enjoyed the meeting with the Colusa Police Department,” said Blanca Dahlstrom, “This is an excellent resource for the community.”
A first for the department, the Coffee with a Cop event was a success, commented Chief Fitch.
“I am happy with the turnout and look forward to hosting these events regularly,” said Chief Fitch.