Policing strategies, storm preparation and emergency response were just a few of the topics New Castle County officials discussed at a wide-ranging community meeting in Middletown last week.

Policing strategies, storm preparation and emergency response were just a few of the topics New Castle County officials discussed at a wide-ranging community meeting in Middletown last week.

“This meeting tonight is part of a tour we have taken to every part of the county to tell people about our effective public safety strategy and the advancements we’ve made in technology to help out police officers combat crime,” New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon told the nearly 60 area residents who attended the meeting at the Appoquinimink Community Library on Oct. 9. “We want the public to not only understand this, but to assist us and be the eyes and ears for the county.”

County Police Chief Elmer Setting began the two-hour meeting by telling residents how his department is analyzing call data to better predict where and when crime might occur and then dispatching officers to those areas in advance to act as a deterrent and ensure a quicker response time.

The Targeted Analytic Policing System, or TAPS, has helped lead to a nearly 11-percent reduction in total crime since last year, including a 21-percent decrease in robberies, a 31-percent drop in assaults and a nearly 25 percent decline in burglaries, he said.

Meanwhile, total traffic stops are up 60 percent, while officer initiated activity has increase more than 31 percent.

County Emergency Management Planner Joseph Cochran discussed how his agency works with federal and state officials, municipalities and relief organizations to prepare for major storm events, as well as some of the initiatives it is undertaking to prevent property damages from future disasters.

He also urged residents to develop family preparedness plans that include supply kits, emergency contacts and relocation sites.

County Emergency Communication Chief Jeffrey Miller detailed the new Smart911.com system, which allows residents to provide information about themselves, their homes and their vehicles to help paramedics and police during an emergency.

Meanwhile, other county officials discussed how code enforcement complaints are handled, Gordon’s efforts work with home owners associations and the county’s ongoing paramedic recruitment efforts.

Dennis Joy, president of the Summit Pond Maintenance Corporation, said found the meeting informative, particularly discussion of the county’s Smart911 system.

“It’s going to make help available quicker and gives the 911 response person a big picture with all the pertinent information,” he said. “There a lot of stuff I heard tonight that I want to investigate online, so I’ll go to the county’s site and look at all these things and send some of the information out to the community so they can go and look at it.”

Meanwhile, Linda Barnes, a board member with the Dickerson Farm Service Corporation, said she was hoping to hear more detail about county policing.

“I think it was a little more higher level than what I expected,” she said. “I wanted to hear how county police go about stopping cars. I also heard there’s program where they’ll ride through your neighborhood and if they see garage doors open, they’ll give you a call. But I didn’t hear any of that tonight.”

Last week’s community meeting was the fourth in a series of five hearing being held throughout the county.

New Castle Councilman William Bell, who represents unincorporated areas east of Middletown, said he applauds the county executive for organizing the sessions to keep residents informed.

“I believe it’s important for the residents to be more familiar with the services that are available and how they’re being provided,” he said. “When the community is well-informed and they know what services are available to them, it makes for a better relationship with government.