FAIRFIELD — More than 100 residents, mostly of Cordelia Villages, turned out Wednesday to meet with local police to discuss how best to get a handle on neighborhood crime that’s increased in volume and severity.
The meeting in Oakbrook Elementary School’s multipurpose room came less than a week after an apparent gunbattle near the intersection of Capistrano Court and Lakeview Circle. No one was injured in the shooting.
Police Capt. Darrin Moody, Lt. Randy Fenn and Crime Prevention Specialist Jeff Conner led the discussion and fielded questions.
Fenn, the public service area commander for Cordelia, which includes Cordelia Villages and Green Valley, lauded residents for being vigilant and helping solve a rash of burglaries last year.
He also addressed the Jan. 16 shootout on Capistrano Court. He said two people are in custody and the district attorney was looking at charges for a third suspect. Fenn said detectives continue to search for additional suspects.
“We’re looking at everybody involved in the incident,” he said.
Fenn also attributed an increase in nonviolent property crimes, such as burglary and auto theft, to the state-mandated release of some 33,000 nonviolent offenders to ease the burden on state prisons.
“There’s no way for that to happen without some repercussions,” Fenn said.
Cordeila, from 2012 through November 2013, saw a 10-percent increase in burglaries, according to statistics Fenn displayed during his talk.
In response to questions about increasing the police presence in the area, Fenn discussed the stark reality that the roughly 100-officer Police Department has its limits in terms of where it can be and how many officers it can assign to certain areas.
“We can’t be everywhere at once,” Fenn said. “We rely on the eyes and ears of you folks out there.”
People asked questions about everything from installing private security cameras to the possibility of getting a police substation in Cordelia to cut down response times.
Many residents in the area have been organizing community meetings through social media and discussing specific incidents through several groups, including Cordelia Crime Fighters and Cordelia Community Awareness, both on Facebook.
Officer Cade Beckwith encouraged that, but also reminded people to keep police informed.
“You have to call the police,” he reminded the crowd. “If you call, we have to do something. I want you guys to see something that doesn’t look right and call dispatch.”
Karen Lorrayne Delp-Judkins, administrator of the Cordelia Crime Fighters group, said she was pleased with the meeting, although she had hoped for more question-and-answer time.
“People are scared,” Delp-Judkins said. “They want a police officer on their doorstep at all times, and they have a right to be scared. I was really pleased. I think they did a very good job of explaining what they were doing.”
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