City and public safety officials met with residents of Ward 3 at Beebe School Monday night, the first of numerous ward-by-ward meetings planned to discuss crime in the city.
Mayor Gary Christenson, Ward 3 councilor John Matheson, Malden Police Chief James Holland and police Lt. Kevin Molis offered some common sense safety advice for residents, and answered questions from those in attendance.
The event was also broadcast on Malden Access Television.
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Lt. Molis, works with a plainclothes operation at the department, challenged residents to first put themselves in the mind of a criminal, and start making changes accordingly.
“Ask: 'if I was going to break into my house, how would (I) do it?” he said. “Would my house be vulnerable?”
Molis cited some ways of reducing the likelihood of a burglary, including improved lighting and reducing anything in your yard that reduces visibility from the street, like landscaping.
Officials also suggested residents buy burglar alarms, if they can afford them. Christenson and Matheson indicated the city was in the preliminary stages of working with manufacturers to brainstorm ways of making the technology more affordable for Malden homeowners later this year.
Most importantly, officials emphasized the golden rule of citizen vigilance: if you see something suspicious, call the police.
“If you see someone looking into cars, someone walking onto property, definitely call for something like that,” Chief Holland said when asked to describe suspicious activity rising to a 911 call.
“Just a person walking down the street? I dunno about that, but if he goes back up and down the street, yes.”
Leaders weigh in
The mayor told those in attendance to see “some changes” from city hall in “the coming weeks” about crime and policing.
Christenson said he would be pushing for more police officers during the city's upcoming budget process.
“We can't run with the number of (police) we have for a city of 60,000 people,” he said.
Funding to fix street lights is also on the agenda, Matheson said.