Message to neighborhood thieves taking packages from porches and items from cars: the police are doubling down on their efforts to catch you.
Stapleton’s new Lt. Ian Culverhouse says they will continue to put decoy packages with GPS tracking devices on porches—though unfortunately they have not yet caught a “porch pirate” with this method.
And after theft from motor vehicles increased to 23 from seven in the prior month in Precinct 511, Culverhouse met with mall management at the Shops at Northfield, and they have now stepped up patrols of the parking lots. “They noticed some juveniles who were wearing gloves and walking by and checking door handles,” says Culverhouse, “Thankfully, mall security made contact with them, and they got in a car and fled, but I’m convinced that because of their pro-active behavior they prevented some customers from having their stuff stolen.”
Culverhouse is picking up where Lt. Robert Wyckoff left off as Precinct 511 lieutenant. After serving in Stapleton for two years, Lt. Wyckoff has moved on to work under Deputy Chief of Operations David Quinones at DPD central headquarters.
Wyckoff set up an active community policing program in Stapleton based on engaging busy citizens at the places where they go—community outreach tables at outdoor movie nights, the Farmers Market, and MCA events. He partnered with Stapleton resident Andres Chaparro, the president and general manager of Telemundo 25 Denver, to develop public service announcements to increase awareness and encourage responsibility. He says Stapleton now has “the most active and robust Neighborhood Watch” and “the nicest cop shop” in Denver. In his new position, Wyckoff hopes that he can encourage other area lieutenants to use similar measures to promote engagement within their communities.
Lt. Culverhouse grew up in Littleton and lives in the south metro area with his wife, three children and German shepherd. He feels a strong connection to Stapleton through friends and family and is very excited to be working with this community after having served in District 2 for nine and a half years, covering the Park Hill/NE Denver area.
As the population of Stapleton expands to the north, Culverhouse hopes District 5 can get more officers: “I do know that they are looking at re-doing some boundary lines within Stapleton that would potentially add more officers.” Such decisions are data driven, he says, so it is important to call in all incidents and information, including seemingly small things such as suspicious vehicles or behaviors. Culverhouse advocates the use of the “Text a Tip” program (720.723.8911), which messages the police non-emergency line and is reviewed at monthly meetings.
The Neighborhood Watch program is growing under the leadership of Ed Corvack at “The Hub” in Northfield. To join or get more information, call Ed at 720.865.2356. Culverhouse also notes the value of using social media, such as Nextdoor.com and the Stapleton Community Watch and District 5 Facebook pages, to communicate with neighbors about preventable crime. (Anyone can sign up at Nextdoor.com using your street address and email.)
Following Wyckoff’s efforts, Lt. Culverhouse aims to continue engaging with citizens and businesses on preventing crimes of opportunity. Thefts from motor vehicles, thefts from front porches, and residential burglaries, particularly open garage door burglaries, continue to trouble the neighborhood. Culverhouse strongly advocates preventtive measures, including the use of porch lights, neighborly communication, cameras, delivery tracking apps and getting to know neighbors who can hold a package for you. He also highly recommends automatic garage closing devices, which are now widely available at affordable prices.
“We have to work as each other’s keepers,” says Culverhouse, “If you’re the one that’s really vigilant about closing your garage door, but your neighbor isn’t, it’s still attracting that criminal element. Encourage your neighbor to close their door.”