Archive for Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lawrence police chief focused on making homes, businesses safer

September 6, 2011


When Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib talks about crime prevention, he often uses the grade school example about the elements needed to build a fire: a spark, oxygen and combustible material.

“You need a suspect. You need a victim. And you need an environment, which is conductive to that,” he said. “If you’re missing any one of those, you’re less likely to have a crime.”

In the one year since Khatib became interim chief and was later promoted as the department’s permanent leader, his requests for additional resources, namely more patrol officer positions, have gained most of the attention.

But he said that’s only part of trying to reduce Lawrence’s crime rate, which in recent years was higher than other area cities such as Lenexa and Overland Park, and university communities, such as Boulder, Colo., and Norman, Okla.

Khatib also wants the department to help people learn more about how to reduce their chances of becoming a victim and how to make their homes and businesses safer.

“There are a lot of educational exchanges that can take place to let people know how to maximize the environment they have to increase safety,” Khatib said.

His officers and the city’s planning department are working on putting together a public presentation for anyone to attend about how to design a safe environment at home or at a business.

Khatib is not looking to make things complex.

“It does not really mean that you have to put a bunch of cameras up,” he said.

It can often be as simple as making sure there are decent sight distances from your front porch by not having overgrown shrubs or trees or installing fences you can’t see through.

Sean Passmore, a Lawrence resident, is concerned about certain safety aspects downtown. In one example, Passmore, who often works downtown at night, said he worried about a new wall constructed near the northwest stairwell of the city’s New Hampshire Street parking garage and near the seven-story First Management Inc. building under construction at 901 N.H.

“My main contention is it just cuts down on the visibility,” he said.

Passmore said it’s caused him some trepidation as he exits the garage.

Robert Green, construction director for First Management, said the wall, which was constructed according to the city-approved site plan, was built to screen the building’s generator and Dumpsters. He said the exterior lights on the building will illuminate the area near the wall.

Khatib said he could not comment on the specific example because he had not seen it. He said often in the planning process there could be balance between many things, including trying to prevent noise, for example.

Scott McCullough, the city’s director of planning and development services, said the police department’s neighborhood resource officers have provided recommendations about security issues in some other projects. They’re not requirements but comments or recommendations for property owners to consider. McCullough said the most specific example he could recall was input from officers about lighting near gas stations and making sure clerks have a clear view of gas pumps.

“These are some helpful suggestions from the experts,” said McCullough, who believes the comments are aimed at reducing possible safety risks and curbing the potential for crime to occur.

The police chief did say he sees opportunities to improve safety downtown, including the lighting in some parking lots. He said some downtown businesses offer good examples about a safe environment. They are well lit and have open windows where people passing by can see inside. That way if a clerk is possibly in danger due to a robbery or something else, someone passing by is more likely to notice it.

Some other businesses, he said, clutter their windows or cover them completely with posters, for example, and it’s less likely someone passing by can see inside in case something dangerous is happening.

“I’m hoping that if we can educate,” Khatib said, “and people incorporate some of the concepts into their environments, we’d be ahead.”


classclown 2 years, 7 months ago

When Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib talks about crime prevention, he often uses the grade school example about the elements needed to build a fire: a spark, oxygen and combustible material.


A spark is not an element needed to build a fire. What you need is heat. I hope the schools are not actually teaching kids these days that they must have a spark to create a fire.


lawrenceguy40 2 years, 7 months ago

Crime prevention works! Ask Target - I heard they don't allow any LPD officers in their video game department and have seen thefts drop dramatically.



Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 7 months ago

I read some time ago that there has been some effort lately within our local police department to be more sensitive to the problems of the mentally ill. Sometimes it is not obvious that a person's problems are of that nature, and other times it's very obvious.

I certainly hope that our new police chief works with the local psychiatric community and trains his officers to be sensitive to those among us who have problems that are symptomatic of mental illness and recognize those situations.

In some cases, a mentally ill person is a danger to others. In that case, something will have to be done immediately in order to protect the public.

A person with mental illness that suffers from paranoia can be a very dangerous thing, however usually only to himself. Here's a typical statement made by a paranoid person:

"I'll explain how I know. It's easy to pick out the people following."

Another symptom of paranoia is the belief that he is being listened to or looked at where ever he goes. These fears are very real to the person involved, and since I get quite paranoid myself sometimes, I recognize the symptoms instantly. I've been hospitalized myself for that sort of problem, as I noted above.

So if you want to know something about it, just inform me of that. Not only have I lived through the experience, I have read about it a great deal as well. And I believe that I'm literate enough to convey the information that I have gathered over my lifetime to others.

But if a person chooses to remain within his fantasy world of paranoia instead of talking to a therapist or psychiatrist about his problems and resolving them, his demons will never go away, and he is going to suffer needlessly.

From reading another thread, it did appear as though our local police department actually did go to someone's house in an effort to assuage his fears, but apparently they were not able to produce positive results.

It is not a crime to be paranoid. So, unless someone with that problem is forthcoming with his problems to a therapist or psychiatrist, he's just going to keep on believing his fantasies and trying to convince others that his fears are real.

And that's not a crime either.


irvan moore 2 years, 7 months ago

i remember a few years ago when the crazy old lady down the street got her car back from police impoundment and was convinced they put stuff in it to spy on her.


Stain 2 years, 7 months ago

The police department does an admirable job with the resources they have. But nothing substitutes for having enough officers on duty at all times.


pace 2 years, 7 months ago

Celebrating the 50 year anniversary of protecting the community by telling home owners to cut the bushes near their house and for businesses to be visible and lit. How about involving the community, asking and communicating with them? A citizens review board would not only increase "true" dialogue and foster a better working relationship but would increase trust. Mutual respect, working together, it is about crime. Stopping it, finding ways to reduce it and helping solve em.


hipper_than_hip 2 years, 7 months ago

FYI: Having a Gadsden flag as your avatar is just asking the cops to look into your business.


edmclinn 2 years, 7 months ago

So how does my comment stating that allege "Various law enforcement agencies, which may include police and sheriffs departments, listen to the audio taps in my automobiles real-time" violate comment usage rights?


oldvet 2 years, 7 months ago

Effective utilization of your CC permit will help cut down on crime...


prospector 2 years, 7 months ago


Do you think you get around the surveillance when you are typing on your keyboard? Have you found out if the police use keystroke capturing software?


edmclinn 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm looking to organize a protest of police surveillance tactics, anyone interested in joining?


autie 2 years, 7 months ago

I have a whole box of tin foil hats....they are leftover from the bird flu epidemic. The worked too, because I never got the bird flu.


somedude20 2 years, 7 months ago

Why am I hungry for a beef kabob? Huh, must be subliminal messaging. Good work Chief Khatib Can't the City of lawrence just buy or make a robocop? One robocop should be better than a force or young and wet or old and fat cops.

Ro bo cop ro bo cop


57chevy 2 years, 7 months ago

Amazing how prevention is the answer for burglary rather than technology (read money) and at least one Police dedicated to robbery (there are currently none). But more police with more powers are always the answer for drugs and alcohol related crime. I would favor a new police administration that felt that any crime with a victim is more important than crimes that only indirectly effect the community at large. Given the recent World Health Organization positon statement declaring the global war on drugs a complete failure, maybe we could find a chief who wants to fight a war he can win and actually take of the taxpayers and THEIR property. I wonder if the downtown merchants who already get more than their fair share of police services pay more or less taxes than those of us who are just waiting to retire so we can move to a safer community in Missouri?


edmclinn 2 years, 7 months ago

FYI, if you frequent the Pool Room your chance at being receded on audio by law enforcement is close to 100%.


BorderRat 2 years, 7 months ago

Hey ed, hope you didn't recently purchase a copy of Catcher in the Rye. P.S., don't forget the combo for the coffee.


consumer1 2 years, 7 months ago

Now now, dry your tears. Everything will be okay.


Liberty275 2 years, 7 months ago

A dog in the house works wonders and doesn't cost the city anything.


oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 7 months ago

ONe has to wonder if Mr. Khatib has looked around at the overgrown trees in city property and right of way, and in the city parkinglots, the trees blocking the light from parking stalls.

Is this the reason that McCullough's office is out measuring trees now , so that new ones will be planted and are maintained as bad as the current inner forest?


smitty 2 years, 7 months ago

Another LPD version of round abouts.....


edmclinn 2 years, 7 months ago

They don't put up camera's, they just tap your homes and automobiles! Still curious how civil rights get pushed aside due to inept police work. Can't wait for this meeting Chief!


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