Omaha Police Building Relationships With Public To Keep City Safe
By Kimberly Foley. CREATED Jun 20, 2013
Omaha, NE -- The Omaha Police Department is working to build relationships it says will keep the city safe.
On Thursday night, an OPD precinct opened its doors to the community.
"I wish we could be everywhere and see everything, but we can't," said OPD Capt. Shayna Ray. "We definitely need public cooperation to help us."
A number of high-profile crimes have captured the city's attention.
On Saturday, a gunman shot four people in South Omaha. Two victims died.
A retired cop followed him before the suspect had a shootout with police and later died.
Early Sunday morning, someone murdered two teens in North Omaha.
In May, someone murdered Dr. Roger and Mary Brumback in their home near 114th & Shirley Streets.
At the time, neighbors were scared, and OPD suggested they start a neighborhood watch.
"People were nervous about what had happened," said public information officer James Shade. "We just want to let everyone know Omaha is a safe city. Help each other out. With community policing, when you know what is going on in your neighborhood, you can relay that information to the police in a much more timely manner than an officer who is just patrolling."
Mark Pflug is part of the citizens' patrol in Benson.
He said major crimes get people's attention, and the patrol's presence gets the attention of criminals.
"It puts people on higher alert, I suppose," said Pflug. "Maybe it makes a lot of people nervous, but it doesn't change my activity or anything. I have lived there longer than the criminal has. It's my neighborhood."
Police said while these murders are not the norm, they happened in residential areas.
They also said citizen patrols and neighborhood watches can make a big impact on crime.
"We need the public's help every day, 24 hours a day," said Ray. "It's essential that we work with the public. We want people to call us and tell us what is going on."
Another message from police: "See something, say something."
They said you don't have to be best friends with your neighbors, but if you keep an eye out, it can be enough to stop a crime before it happens.