NEWBERRY — City of Newberry Police Chief Roy McClurkin held the very first Chattin’ with the Chief to help build better relations between city police officers and the residents they serve.
“I want to actually have these meetings as much as I can, but I do not want to have them here (the police station). I want to go out into the neighborhoods, to listen to what is going on in the community and have us work together to try and solve these issues,” McClurkin said.
McClurkin believes that having the community involved will help solve crimes, because the public has more information than the police do, and see a lot more than they do.
“I believe this helps benefit the city, the police department and the community as a whole,” he said.
McClurkin believes that officers should not be in their cars at all times, if they can help it. This belief has led to more city officers walking around parks, apartment complexes, Piedmont Technical College and Newberry College.
“Recently when it was warm, the officers got involved with a kick ball game at a local park. Those kids were very challenging to their officers. It was competitive out there,” McClurkin joked.
McClurkin said he and his officers are also getting more involved in the elementary schools and even have lunch with some of the students when they can. They went to Newberry Elementary School the other day to assist students when they got to school.
“We want to get out of these cars, interact with the public, let the public know we are depending on them as much as they are depending on us,” he said.
McClurkin gave an update on a few scams that are taking place, one of which involves tax scams. He said that criminals are stealing Social Security numbers and other important information, then filing fraudulent tax returns.
“We have seen recently where people are calling and telling you that there is a problem with your refund, and do not do direct deposit because there is a problem now, they say they can help you out if you give them your bank account information and they will take care of it. If you get a call like that it is nothing but a scam, hang up and please report it to us, and if you have caller ID, please give us that number we take it and put it in a database,” McClurkin said.
Another scam involves Publishers Clearing House. McClurkin said callers are claiming to be with Publishers Clearing House and telling residents they can get their winnings after they send money.
“If you win money and you have to send money to get money, that is a scam and do not fall for it,” he said. “Those are the two we have seen right now, but I have seen in other places where scammers have gotten people by posting on the internet, houses for rent.”
In this scam, someone will post a house online and claim it is for rent. The victim will then send a deposit without visiting the house. When they come to move in they find someone else lives there, or the house does not exist.
“The sheriff is doing a good job about sending stuff out on Nixle about scams, it is a free service you can sign up for, and get alerts about weather events, or other breaking crime news,” McClurkin said.
McClurkin gave updates on other initiatives his department is doing, including Project Lifesaver, Smart911 and partnering with the schools about drug education. He also added that Newberry is one of the safest communities and that is something he is proud of.
“For some reason people will ride up that interstate, and look at Newberry and think this looks like a good place to commit a crime. They find out it is the wrong place to commit a crime,” McClurkin said.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.