Written by Lauren DeWitt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -
A police substation may be the answer in making one area in Dubuque just a little bit safer. Dubuque City Council has made it a top priority to add a Police substation in the Washington Neighborhood. Currently, the Police Department holds a police substation at the Carnegie-Stout Public Library. Lt. Scott Baxter is with the Dubuque Police Department. He says adding a substation to the Washington Neighborhood is something the department has been interested in pursuing for years.
"It's always been in the back of our minds," he said. "As the city expands and grows it needs to happen."
The Dubuque Police Department says they receive a number of service calls to the Washington area neighborhood.
"When you have more people and you have those people condensed in a smaller geographical area you tend to need police services more often. Their is a certain degree of poverty within these neighborhoods as well and poverty sometimes correlates with crime and higher calls for service as well." Lt. Scott Baxter said.
Lynda Jelinek owns a business near the Washington Neighborhood. Although her business, Woodchips Antiques, has only been open for a couple of months she says she has still seen her fair share of crime.
"We have had some major crime activity like behind us a little ways. We have also had some little issues across the street and in the middle of the street." Jelinek said.
The addition of a police substation to that neighborhood would allow a larger police presence to the area.
"Anybody who lives in Dubuque knows that we have a strong presence really anywhere on the East side of town and the West side as far as that is concerned," Lt. Scott Baxter said. "We tend to allocate our resources where they are needed and that is often dictated by our calls of service. Our community biking officers have territories that encompass both the downtown and North end neighborhoods so you see a strong presence there. We are never more then a few blocks away from a particular area in the downtown area or Washington Neighborhood. So we are already out there, but it would be nice to have a place where we can stop and do paperwork if necessary and have a place where people can come in and visit."
Lt. Baxter says it's not just because the area has higher crime that they would like to add a sub-station.
"With all of the good things that are happening in the Washington neighborhood and on the east side of town now, the bee branch project, revitalization of a lot of the homes in the Washington neighborhood. It's just a lot of good things happening and we defiantly want to be a part of that." Lt. Baxter said.
Baxter says nothing is set in stone about placing a substation in the Washington Neighborhood. But he is please it has become a higher priority for the city. The Dubuque Police Department hopes to add even more substations in the future.
"We would like to entertain the idea of substations elsewhere throughout town. When you think about the West side of town or the South side of town to come down here (to the Dubuque Police Station) takes some effort." Lt. Baxter said.
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