Orem may not be as safe a place anymore - for criminals.
Thanks to the addition of three new investigators to the staff of Orem's Department of Public Safety, more crimes are being solved, according to Ted Peacock, department director.Since they started with the investigations division on Aug. 15, Steve Clark, Bob Conner and Mike Larsen have made 91 arrests.
"The best thing about this is that these arrests would not have been made if we had not had the investigators," Peacock said.
Larsen said officers initiated all of the arrests. None of them came through calls to the office.
Jay Barker, captain of investigations for Orem City Public Safety, said before the new investigators came, the average caseload was 45 cases per man per month.
"We looked at other departments in the state and their caseloads were much less," Barker said. "And we hadn't had an addition to our staff in 10 years."
The three new investigators spend most of their time with burglaries and thefts, Peacock said. But they may also work cases such as drugs and narcotics that need attention.
Barker said another area of attention was the threat of gangs organizing in the Orem area.
"We decided if it was starting that we wanted to stop it immediately," he said. With these extra men, he said there has been a noticeable decrease in the threat of gangs.
"We have also noticed a decrease in the number of car prowls," Barker said.
The investigators are not undercover, but they do not wear uniforms. This allows the investigators to get closer to possible criminal acts, Barker said, and many arrests were made that would not have been possible before.
Clark said one night he was watching an automobile that seemed "suspicious" and it ended up being a get-away car for teenagers who were trying to steal pizza.
Peacock said having new investigators has also lightened the workload of other investigators in the department. It gives them time to follow up on leads that they would not have been able to investigate before.
They spend most of their evenings following up on crime investigations because, Conner said, it is easier to get ahold of some people in the evening.
The officers seem to like doing investigations. It is a change from regular patrol work, Conner said. The department hopes to be able to expand in the future to meet the growth needs of the city.