Security tighter for COTR

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 29, 2004

Christmas on the River is meant to be a festive time of year. The parades and many events that follow offer everyone a chance to get into the holiday spirit. Unfortunately, there are some who try to dampen that spirit.

At a recent City Council meeting a citizen voiced strong concerns regarding break ins and safety at Christmas on the river. He asked that officials address the key concerns facing Demopolis.

These concerns came from past incidents involving automobile break ins and other safety issues.

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While this has been a problem in the past it appears to be on a swift decline. Two years ago the holiday festival was plagued with automobile break ins. Last year the Demopolis Police were able to put a huge dent in the number. This year, they hope to again make Christmas on the River a worry free event.

Detective Sergeant Tim Soronen said the addition of security made a big difference last year.

“We only had two last year,” Soronen said. “We had additional security on four-wheelers around and it made a difference.”

Soronen said the plan is the same this year.

“We will have extra police again this year on four wheelers and golf carts and things like that,” Soronen said. “We will have them mostly in the parking areas to watch out for the cars.”

The police can’t be everywhere no matter how many officers are on duty. For this reason people must take measures on their own to prevent crime. Soronen said a little common sense could go a long way in crime prevention.

“People should never leave valuables in their vehicles, especially in plain view,” Soronen said. “Often people who are going to break into a car will walk around looking in the windows. If they see something they like they will break in. If they don’t they will move on to the next car.”

Soronen encouraged visitors to leave valuable items at home if possible. If not, put them in the trunk of the car or out of view.

Because of the large crowds Soronen also encouraged people to travel together.

“It is best to walk around in a group,” Soronen said. “If you are traveling with other people you are always in better shape. ”

Soronen said by issuing safety tips he was not trying to scare people away from the big event. He said because of the crowd it is always better to be safe than sorry.

“We aren’t trying to scare anyone away,” Soronen said. “Demopolis is a good town and it is a safe town. We don’t have problems with people bothering you on the street. But during this time a lot of people come in from out of town and we just want people to be safe.”

Traffic will also be a safety issue during Christmas on the River. The Demopolis Police Department encourages people to use common sense in this area as well. That includes not drinking and driving and using safety restraints. Soronen said the police would keep a close watch to keep motorists safe.

“We want everyone to come and have a god time,” Soronen said. “When they travel we want them to be safe as well. Buckle up and buckle the kids up. We will be checking for that.”