Wednesday , May 23, 2018 - 5:15 AM1 comment
NORTH OGDEN — North Ogden City Councilman Phillip Swanson cites the inclination of residents here to look out for one another.
“People here are good neighbors,” he said.
Lance Call, chief of the North Ogden Police Department, while mindful of the import of citizen involvement, also notes the impact of the Volunteer in Police Service program, or VIPS. Per the department’s initiative, volunteers, while lacking formal policing powers, serve as ears and eyes for police, traveling the city and reporting what they encounter to North Ogden officers.
“They just observe and they drive around,” he said.
Whatever the spur — and both note the efforts of North Ogden police officers — efforts to keep law and order in North Ogden are having an impact. According to a review of FBI crime data by Safewise, a national home security company, North Ogden is the fourth-safest city in Utah, gauging by relatively low instances of violent crimes and property crimes.
“It’s not a surprise. One, we live in a great area,” Swanson said. “Secondly, we have great law enforcement, we have a great police department.”
According to the FBI data for 2016, North Ogden experienced 0.27 violent crimes and 11.9 property crimes per 1,000 residents, Safewise said. Only Highland, Santa Clara/Ivins and Spanish Fork ranked as safer.
Roy, the only other Weber County city on the list, ranked 20th while several Davis County cities also made the Top 20 — Clinton, sixth; Syracuse; seventh; Kaysville, ninth; Farmington, 10th; North Salt Lake, 14th; Clearfield, 17th; and Bountiful, 19th.
Safewise reviewed only those cities that submitted complete crime reports to the FBI. The main focus was violent crimes — aggravated assault, murder, rape and robbery. Secondarily, the firm looked at property crimes — burglary, arson, larceny/theft and car theft.
While citing residents’ willingness to report suspicious activity they encounter to police, even without the existence of a formal Neighborhood Watch program, Swanson also praised police themselves. “They know the city well. They know where problems are, where problems tend to be,” he said.
Per the VIPS program, Call said, the volunteers handle property checks and patrol on Friday and Saturday nights, among other things.
“A lot of the people look out for each other up here,” said Rick Austin, one of the VIPS volunteers.
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