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Concerns on crime stated


A fairly upbeat report on crime statistics in Coulee Dam didn’t assuage fears among residents who expressed dire concerns at the town council meeting about increasing petty crime.

Mayor Greg Wilder recited findings from, a site that compiles all kinds of statistics, but invoked the Mark Twain quote that there are “lies, damned lies and statistics.”

That site noted last year that the town had the second-best record in the state. But Wilder said he’d also compiled stats from state sources on nearby towns and that Coulee Dam still looked very good by comparison.

Nevertheless, citizens said, things have taken a turn for the worse.

Larry Price, who lives on Tilmus Street, said his neighborhood has seen “a lot of wanderers” who look over property and seem to assess open garages and more.

“We’re going to have to do something to protect our citizens,” said another speaker, who asked not to be identified because she feared retaliation. “It’s out of hand. … It’s not just Coulee Dam’s problem; it’s the whole entire community’s problem.”

“It’s a serious issue,” Wilder said.

Interim Police Chief Larry Hall said some of the people causing concern are addicted to crystal meth and will walk around for 36-48 hours at a time, and can be seen in any of the local communities. “They just keep walking, and they’re looking.”

The town is close to hiring a new chief of police. The mayor has said that another officer is in the budget, but it’s not certain one will be hired.

Hall advised people to be vigilant, lock their doors and cars, and call police and neighbors when they see someone suspicious.

“Most of the property crimes here are crimes of opportunity,” he said.

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