Two years ago our department adopted and implemented the Community-Oriented Policing — or COP — philosophy effort.

COP proposes moving beyond working harder and faster toward working “smarter” through long-term community-based problem solving.

Our Community Policing Officers — CPOs — have developed and continue to work with our 14 active Community Watch Neighborhoods.

Each neighborhood has its own assigned CPO who is working jointly with their assigned neighborhoods to prevent and control crime and reduce citizen’s fear of crime.

This effort involves CPOs working in a partnership with their neighborhood citizens to solve community problems and concerns. I am so very gratified to state publicly that this joint endeavor has indeed been highly fruitful.

Our violent crime rate in 2010 over 2009 was reduced 30 percent and most recent statistics indicate that the violent crime rate for 2011 over 2010 was reduced 53 percent and the property crime rate was reduced 5 percent: such stats are truly remarkable and a “report card” that citizens and CPOs alike should celebrate and realize we need to continue “full-steam ahead” on whatever we are doing.

Besides employing COP we also owe our crime reduction successes to our “tough on crime” stance using our CompStat crime recognition and rapid response program and the introduction of our Special Response Team five highly motivated officers that rapidly provide a concentrated enforcement effort upon identified crime and drug hot spots.

One additional effort that I am concentrating upon is a methodical effort to have our community (our citizens) transition toward a culture of “caring” and “ownership” toward our great city: which should unquestionably serve to enhance our overall quality of life and also impact crime rates (i.e. reduce rates or keep them low).

After Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s international success with his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” many articles and books were published using this “Seven Habits” title.

I will take literary license to coin my visions as “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Citizens” which obviously can be applicable to any municipality; however at this point La Marque is my objective:

1) If your neighborhood has a Community Watch get involved — if none exists contact the police department to start one.

2) Report possible suspicious criminal activity to the police department.

3) Lock your car (even in your driveway) take your ignition keys out and hide your valuables from view.

4) Do not litter our city.

5) Coax and teach your children and loved ones to not litter our city.

6) If you see litter do not walk over it: please pick it up — help keep your city clean.

7) Contact your CPO (or me) if you have any crime-control suggestions or a solution.

Once again I leave this crystal clear message for those who continue to commit crimes within our city: crime business as usual has ended in La Marque.

Randall Aragon is chief of police in La Marque.

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