Mission has had a 19 percent crime drop since last year and police Chief Robert Dominguez said he believes it’s because of community-oriented policing.
With various programs such as Mission Crime Stoppers, the neighborhood watch and Police Explorers, there is more of a connection between the police department and community members, he said.
At Mission’s National Night Out, locals gathered alongside law enforcement officials at Leo Peña Memorial Park for food, entertainment and games. National Night Out was created in 1984 in an effort to promote a stronger police/civilian partnership and prevent criminal activities. Police departments across the nation have their own festivals either on the first Tuesday of August or the first Tuesday in October.
“We ask the citizens to be our eyes and ears,” Dominguez said. “Obviously, we don’t want them to get hurt in any form when reporting a crime, but the important thing is to bring the message that if you see something illegal occurring, call the police.”
The uniform crime report looks at seven index crimes – homicide, rape, assault, burglaries, robberies, auto theft and theft. The crime rate is based on the daily number of reports to the state and federal government.
The Mission police chief couldn’t calculate how often a community member helps with an arrest because he said it’s an everyday occurrence. Anonymous tips, vehicle or personal descriptions help the department, he said.
“That’s what we, as an organization, always strive to develop – that one-to-one relationship,” Dominguez said. “Our citizens demand that connectivity.”
Although Mission’s population has about doubled since Dominguez began his career with the city 28 years ago, the relationship between law enforcement and the community has improved.
“A lot more programs that require community interaction has gotten us to this point,” Dominguez said. “We have slowly progressed, and we’re always looking for new innovative programs to reach different segments of the community.”
But the chief didn’t want to take all the credit for the crime reduction. He said each entity in Mission that hosts activities for the residents deserves acknowledgment. Some of the organizations he named were the Boys and Girls Club, the Parks and Recreation department and the Mission library.
With events such as National Night Out, Dominguez said it’s a good way for people to meet law enforcement officials and continue to keep the bond they’ve formed.
“All these different organizations within the bigger organization that is the city of Mission, we all implement different programs to keep our community vibrant and active and that interaction going,” he said.