• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Rialto residents are helping fight crime

February 11, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The city of Rialto has been working to get the community involved in its crime fighting efforts and the police department is seeing results.

"Nowadays everybody has a phone on them so it's the easiest thing to do," said an anonymous Rialto resident. He noticed a strange vehicle in his neighborhood and took down the license plate with his phone and reported it to police. "If it is just a matter of pushing a button or texting that information that would be great."

His tip paid off. His next door neighbor had been robbed. Police were able to connect the license plate number to the burglary, and later that night arrested two suspects.

"I just feel that everybody should do that," said the Rialto resident. "This is where they live, this is their home. I feel that everyone should be aware."

It is residents like him that are helping the Rialto Police Department put a dent in their crime statistics. Violent crime is down by 8 percent, property thefts down by almost 11 percent, and overall offenses dropped by 10 percent.

"The area lieutenant holds a quarterly meeting with our citizens and our business owners," said Lt. Joe Cirilo from the Rialto Police Department. "And it's an opportunity for them to share information about what's going on, not only with the organization, but more importantly what's going on with the community."

The law enforcement agency has also enlisted several crime fighting technologies. Their "Tip411" program allows the public to text information anonymously and to receive real time responses.

Residents can also report non-emergency crimes like vandalism, theft, and other offenses by using the Rialto Police Department's website. Since minor crimes are responsible for a bulk of police calls, the technology allows officers to focus more on drug enforcement and violence."

"They can contact us at their leisure or from their residence by phone, they can text us," said Cirilo.

It's timely information that can help police protect and serve with the help of vigilant residents.