Police stress importance of communication to keep your neighborhood safe

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Law enforcement in cities across the area hold community meetings so people can learn how to make where they live safer.

"These meetings make people aware of the line of communication being open between the police department and the public it serves," Lt. George Vinson said. " We also pass along certain crime prevention tips such as locking vehicles, garages, removing valuables from view (in cars) and reporting suspicious activity."

At the meeting Tuesday night in Fargo, 19 people showed up, representing several different neighborhoods. That didn't sit well with Fargo resident Ann Toso.

"People just need to come to these meetings and get involved with their community to help prevent more crime," Toso said.

Toso said she reports anything suspicious happening in her community and encourages everyone, no matter where you live, to do the same.

"They need to come out to these meetings and talk to cops and report what they see. If you think it's wrong, it is wrong. Please, just report it," Toso said.

Despite the low turn out, Lt. Vinson said that doesn't mean people aren't interested in keeping their communities safe.

"I look at it as we've not seen a lot of high profile crimes, save one recently here in Fargo. We don't have a lot of crime sprees here in Fargo and people are busy," Lt. Vinson said. "That's kind of why we elected to use a Facebook live presentation so people could take in this information at their leisure."

Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor are all things police want you to use to keep where you live safe, but social media shouldn't be the only thing you use.

"I think they think if they post it on Facebook, they did their part, but really it's not," Toso said. "You need to contact the proper authorities to get things taken care of in your community."

Police agreed with Toso. They said by calling them directly through 911 or their non-emergency number, you're going to give officers vital information and get it to them much quicker.

"The officers are out being proactive and trying to catch criminals and prevent crime from happening. If they get that tip from the community, that is the piece of the information that can put us over the top and make us successful," Lt. Vinson said.

Police departments everywhere have said you should always contact them directly with tips because they do not monitor social media around the clock.