Sterling crime prevention group launched after rash of crimes

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Sterling is launching a new push at crime prevention on Monday night. The "We Can" group hopes to restore safe neighborhoods after a rash of crimes. Recent cases make the outreach even more timely.

Just hours after hearing loud gushes of air, Sterling neighbors discovered a tire slashing spree. It happened near the 800 block of 2nd Avenue. Punctures caused thousands of dollars in damage to nearly 40 vehicles.

For dozens of Sterling residents, it was a rude awakening.

"She said that all of her tires had gotten slashed last night while she was asleep," said Katie Lee, Sterling.

Vandalism that comes after the theft of two ATM machines over the weekend. Officers say it took minutes for the smash and grab at Northland Mall. The culprits got away with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Investigators hope that surveillance video and a neighborhood search will reveal more clues.

"Somebody had to have planned it out and thought about it," said Sterling Det. Mike Henry. "They definitely had some knowledge on how they were going to get it out of there. I don't think it was a spur of the moment thing."

Sterling is using the response from a Town Hall meeting in April to form, "We Can." It's a new group of Neighborhood Watch, community members and police. They hope to take a pro-active approach to preventing some very real problems.

Sterling hosted its first full meeting Monday evening to begin organizing to tackle these issues.

"See something, say something, is the biggest thing we want to push for Neighborhood Watch," said Lt. Doug Fargher, Sterling Police. "Along with, know your neighbors."

Whether it's tire slashing, ATM thefts, or crimes involving drugs and violence, it all reflects on the community. It's rough on residents and expensive to fix.

"My car is out," Lee concluded. "I leave it parked on the street. It makes me nervous if that does happen to me, I don't know what I'd do."

It's a deflated neighborhood in Sterling that's trying to do something about it.