By William L. Tokajer
Holmes Beach Chief of Police
As I watch this election season come upon us, I do so with disbelief as to the way this city’s police and code officers are again the target for attacks.
They work extremely hard to keep this city safe and should be applauded for their actions to protect Holmes Beach residents and visitors.
I believe the Holmes Beach Police Department and its police and code officers should be recognized for its proactive actions: distributing window clings and informative security fliers, as well as personally knocking on doors in the target areas, reminding people they are vacationing in a residential area and that noise should be kept to a respectful level.
I believe facts support our actions, and people are seeing a positive difference in their neighborhoods — a remarkable decrease in calls for service in the targeted area. In one year, the outreach program has shown a decrease in calls for service of 75 percent.
This outreach program is working!
Through proactive, high visibility policing, the HBPD has reduced crime, while increasing traffic enforcement and arrests, including high profile arrests, such as the recent home invasion burglary and attack of a resident.
Some say Holmes Beach is a little sleepy town with no crime. And yes, almost all of Holmes Beach residents are wonderful law-abiding citizens, but we also have unwelcome visitors. This is evident in the increase in arrests from 121 in 2012 to 400 arrests in 2017 — a 230 percent increase in five years.
Holmes Beach is increasingly becoming a very popular place to live and vacation, which results in the city being an ideal target for criminals.
The Holmes Beach Police Department has implemented and improved community outreach with National Night Out, Coffee with a Cop, Rascal program, RADKids – a self-empowerment for kids program – House watch program and joint functions with other agencies. For a small department, I’m proud of our accomplishments.
It’s my hope that this election year, we all look at the positive advancements that have been accomplished in a very short period, and avoid calling out easy targets: the hard-working professionals that proudly serve as members of the Holmes Beach Police Department and code enforcement.