The Civic Association hosted a Crime in Palm Beach Symposium with Palm Beach Police Chief Kirk Blouin on January 20. The Chief reported that, when he first joined the department 20 plus years ago, there were nearly 650 serious crimes (homicide, burglary, assault, etc) per year. In 2010, under his watch, there were just 150 major crimes committed, the lowest total in recorded history.
In contrast, West Palm Beach reported 5,415 major crimes last year.
Chief Blouin also reported on the following;
- Every measure of productivity in the police department is up.
- One critical component of crime prevention is field intelligence. Intel reports are up 50%-60%.
- Identity theft is the fastest growing crime. Nationwide, 8% of the population fall victim to ID crime. Lifelock or another similar service is recommended to protect your identity and credit.
- Public corruption cases in Palm Beach County are rising and the town police department is participating with Michael McAuliffe, Palm Beach County State Attorney, to investigate more cases.
- An increase in beach landings has occurred in the last year. In addition to Haitian, Cuban, and occasional Jamaican groups, the police are finding Sri Lankan and Chinese groups landing on our shores.
- Over 1,000 people are registered in the Town of Palm Beach Crime Watch program. “We have more volunteers than we can actually use.” said Chief Blouin. “It’s amazing to me how many volunteers we have in a town this size.”
The chief also presented helpful information on the different police organizations in town.
- Palm Beach Police Foundation: A charity that is separate from the police department. The foundation provides funding for equipment (new guns, crime scene equipment, millennium badges for officers), financial assistance for officer families, and scholarships.
- Fraternal Order of Police: A social organization and charity for police officers; not part of the police department. Chief Blouin pointed out that the phone solicitations that claim to represent the FOP are not part of his department or the FOP, and that residents should not donate to these callers.
- Crime Watch: A Town of Palm Beach Police Department organization dedicated to crime prevention through the education of Town residents and alert citizen participation.
R. Michael Brown