Police in Nixa, Mo. want residents to join in "9 p.m. Routine" to help fight crime

Published: May. 7, 2019 at 5:47 PM CDT
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Remember the days when you're local newscaster would say, "It's 10 o'clock. Do you know where you're children are?"

Well now the Nixa Police Department is trying to get another time-related saying to stick in your head that has to do with 9 o'clock.

Sayings like "Turn-around, don't drown" help us remember important things and just as one radio station suggested that the adult version of the kids song "Head, shoulders, knees and toes" should be "Wallet, glasses, keys, and phone" to help older folks remember their daily routine, so is the Nixa Police Department now mounting a Facebook campaign called the 9 p.m. Routine, reminding you to bring in your valuables from the car, lock your doors and shut your garage door every night before going to bed .

"For example if you're using a Google assistant you tell your phone goodnight and it sets everything else up, you might set it up to remind you that you should check your stuff," said Lt. Jeremy Whitehill, the Nixa police officer who's overseeing the program.

Nixa resident Carlene Mease knows first-hand how important it is as two suspicious-looking men were recently driving slowly past her open garage and checking it out.

"My husband said that as he came around the corner of the house the passenger in the truck was motioning to his driver to hurry up and get out of here," she said. "Apparently they were casing our garage and that was broad daylight with us here. I never paid a lot of attention to people around me because when I grew up my mom and grandma told me not to stare because it's not nice. But now I'm aware of where I am and who's around whether it's night or day and you must be that way at your home too."

The 9 p.m. Routine also suggests you make a habit of turning on outside lights before you go to bed. Obviously if a burglar has a choice between a well-lighted street or a dark one, you can guess which one is more likely to get hit.

"Having your property well-lit creates an atmosphere that is not favorable to the criminal element," Whitehill said. "We're trying to reduce the crime of opportunity."

Whitehill expanded on what law enforcement calls the "Triangle of Crime."

"That consists of the ability to commit a crime, the desire to commit a crime, and the opportunity to commit a crime," he said. "If they don't have the ability to steal the crime can't be committed, if you have your lights on and doors locked those help take away the desire, and if the car doors are unlocked and the garage doors are open, that's a huge opportunity so we want to focus on controlling what we can control."

Whitehill also pointed out that criminals nowadays will go down the street checking to see if doors are locked as opposed to breaking in.

"I remember as a kid growing up windows were always getting broken and there were always smash-and-grabs," he explained. "Now with car alarms and survelliance systems and stuff they want to be as stealthy and quite as possible and if you start breaking windows and setting off car alarms, you've really taken away your ability to be stealthy that night."

With the program only two months old in Nixa, it's too early to tell how much difference the program has made yet. But in a Florida town

where the 9 p.m. Routine has been in place for a while the results have been positive.

"There was a 30% drop in items stolen from cars and garages," Whitesell said.

You can find out more about the 9 p.m. Routine by getting on the Nixa Police Department's Facebook page.