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We live in a society where many citizens don't want to get involved whether it is a neighborhood activity, voting in elections, or reporting incidents to the police. One way to build safe communities is through citizen involvement such as the Neighborhood Watch Program or by simply reporting complaints, concerns and suspicious activities to the police.

At least one City of Madison Police Officer feels that many neighborhood problems go underreported in today's West District Blotter. West District Officier Caleb Johnson (Theresa/Hammersley Neighborhood Officer) says he is happy to respond to complaints and concerns of citizens even if they are minor in nature.

Officer Johnson says that sometimes citizens feel that it is not worth calling the police for problems that are not emergencies because they think that the chances of action by the police are small. Johnson says while that may be the case, the incidents should be reported so that a record is made of the incident, concern or violation. These reports help police build a case in some instances and the reports can demonstrate persistent problems so that the police can appropriately allocate resources and enforcement efforts. Violations should not go unreported.

The emergency 911 number should be used in situations where there is a concern for physical safety and whenever incidents require immediate response by police, for example, an accident, when a crime is in progress, and for other urgent situations.

The non-emergency number is 266-4275. Write this number down and put it in your cell phone for easy access. Use this number for less serious incidents and when you do not feel comfortable calling 911. You can also file a report online by using the Citizen Self-Reporting System to report non-emergency incidents.

Remember that the purpose of the police department is to serve the community and that maintaining safe neighborhoods is a partnership between the police and the community.

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