When the Ravenna Police Department announced it would begin leaving notes for Ravenna residents if police happened to notice something obviously wrong about a home, the announcement was controversial.
People thought it made it easy for the police to access their homes, or that the police would be noting problems that weren’t there — something Ravenna Police Capt. David Rarrick said was not the plan.
"The decision is the property owner’s of what to do," Rarrick said. "We’re not using it to gain access to property.
A bright green piece of paper with a hole in the top to go over a door handle could be left if the Ravenna department notices a garage door is open overnight, Rarrick said, or a car is left unlocked with items inside. Both of those are common incidents that can result in a theft, Rarrick said.
But the same technique has already been in place for about five years in Streetsboro, and Stow police have used a similar idea for 15 years. In both cities, the police department said they are popular.
"It gives the community feedback and reassures them that we’re in their neighborhood and concerned about their safety and security issues," said Capt. Brian Snavely of the Stow Police Department.
The Stow department doesn’t use the door hangers. Instead, they use a small card officers can leave on the door or a car.
Snavely said it can be used as a tool to talk to teens about safety as well. Parents of teenagers who get the notices can use it to talk to their teen about the importance of not leaving the garage door open when they come home late, or making sure they lock their cars.
In 2018, the Stow police gave out 708 such notices, Snavely said. They’ve given out 400 as of Aug. 1.
Streetsboro Police Chief Darin Powers said the Streetsboro officers leave their notes, which are nearly identical to Ravenna’s, on car windows and on doors.
He said the point of the door hangers is community policing, something police officers across the county have begun to stress. The idea behind it is to focus on the relationship between police and the community they work for.
"We do believe they work and it does get the information out," Powers said.