Posted on 11/01/2022
Mayor KinderThe issue of public safety is of top concern in towns and cities of every size across this country, including Cape Girardeau. There are many variations on the causes and reactions to crime in each city and state. How the Cape city government, along with other organizations, is involved in both proactive and reactive crime prevention will dictate whether we see notable improvements of crime issues in our streets and neighborhoods.

 

It is easier for citizens to see how our police department reacts and deals with crime after it has been committed, than to see how crime might be prevented in the first place. We see our police officers on patrol, rushing to crime scenes as they occur. A fully staffed police department must remain the priority, to adequately respond to those situations. Support also comes with evolving technology such as cameras, license plate readers, and gunshot detection. In addition, the Cape PD partners with multiple agencies on the local, state, and federal levels to help solve crime and get those committed to criminal activity off the streets.

 

When discussions of public safety occur, however, the question of how to prevent crime from happening in the first place usually is asked. In reality, we know zero crime won’t be reached, so the purpose of the Cape Police Department is to protect and to serve in that reality. Our officers engage in predictive patrols, anonymous tiplines, and in nuisance abatement.  They participate in task forces, ongoing training, and neighborhood outreach that will better engage our various communities. The city can also assist in these efforts by providing improvements in lighting, condemnations and demolitions, and safe housing initiatives. The city also has a role in interacting with landlords in this work.

 

One initiative our police department participates in that will undoubtedly yield results in the area of crime prevention and reduction is the SEMO Crisis Intervention Team. The SEMO CIT is a collaboration between our area law enforcement and behavioral health providers to address issues related to the incarceration and criminalization of individuals with behavioral health disorders.  The work focuses on interventions, from the time of a first police call, that might help divert an individual dealing with mental health and/or substance abuse away from the criminal justice system, or to reduce future involvement. Behavioral health “co-responders'' are currently being sought to engage in this very important, much needed work.

 

With all this said, there may be no bigger issue than that of determining what will impact the number of often violent interactions of those engaged in activity involving drugs and guns. This city government will continue to form strong partnerships with a wide variety of agencies, support services, and educational opportunities, all in an effort to see our city’s youth choose better paths for themselves. Along with education, our area economic development partners such as SE MO Redi (previously named Magnet) will yield long-term results in aligning the workforce with quality jobs. At the same time, we must continue to provide our law enforcement officials with the tools they need to successfully protect our streets, and ultimately put those individuals who are determined to be dangerous behind bars.

 

With all these activities and goals, we know strong engagement with our families and citizens plays a vital role. As a start, please consider following the websites and social media of the Cape city government, Community Counseling Center, SEMO CIT Council, police and sheriff’s departments, and other related organizations to give and get information about what’s happening in your neighborhood. Working together, we can create an environment where community engagement, city support, and strong law enforcement will reduce crime in our area.