Wahpeton residents who see, hear or otherwise are aware of suspicious activity are asked to contact law enforcement immediately.
They should not wait until it’s too late, Wahpeton Police Chief Scott Thorsteinson said Wednesday, July 8. Thorsteinson’s reminder comes in response to reports of burglaries and other suspicious activities in north and northwest Wahpeton.
“Call us right away,” Thorsteinson said. “If you see something, you need to call it in.”
Time should not be a hindrance, Thorsteinson said. If someone sees or hears suspicious activity like a person crossing through their yard at 3 a.m., they’re asked to call law enforcement then, not afterward.
Residents who do call law enforcement should know that when reporting activity, it’s best to speak to an individual rather than leave a message.
“If you leave a voicemail, you’ve got to expect a delayed response. You’re not going to want to leave a voicemail during a holiday weekend. If it’s a 9-1-1 level emergency, they are the ones to call. Otherwise, when you call our department, you will be directed for who to speak to,” Thorsteinson said.
Daily News has been notified of occurrences including burglaries, property theft and at least one masked individual looking through a house’s window and taking pictures. A suspect had not been determined as of Wednesday afternoon.
“We have been plagued with residential burglaries,” Thorsteinson said. “We’re continuing to alert people to be diligent about locking their property, securing their belongings and being watchful for their neighbors.”
Locking doors cannot be emphasized enough, Thorsteinson said. The same goes for not leaving keys in vehicles, not keeping any personal belongings in a vehicle, having strong locks and making sure that a house does not look unoccupied.
“We’re taking the steps that we can to solve this. We’ve got 16 pairs of eyes on this, but they’re not all able to look at the same time. It’s easier when there’s 8,000 pairs all watching, too,” Thorsteinson said.
Thorsteinson shared some information about the north side burglaries. He said they do not believe to be related to a series of car-related prowling on Wahpeton’s south side.
As of Wednesday, Wahpeton has 16 sworn police officers. While the department is trying to limit its interpersonal interaction in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, active work including patrolling and making arrests continues.
Thorsteinson reminds the public to be active and not wait until afterward, when reporting suspicious or crime-related activity.
“And please don’t put it on Facebook,” he said.