Westfield Chief offers tips for summer


With the arrival of summer in central Indiana, local law enforcement has some tips for keeping safe as the temperature increases.

Westfield Police Department Chief Shawn Keen said the biggest tip he has for the public during the summer months is not about crime prevention, but safety.

“Probably the biggest tip going into summer is, when it comes to children, is to check the backseat before you get out of the car,” Keen said. “We’re busy as adults, we have all the different things going on in our lives. There are so many tragedies that have occurred when parents get in a mode where they are thinking about work and maybe they didn’t drop their child off at day care.”

According to the National Safety Council, more than 960 children have died from vehicular heatstroke in the United States since 1998, an average of 37 per year. Of those, 53 percent involve a parent or caregiver forgetting the child was in the vehicle.

“Check on your kids,” Keen said. “As the weather is getting warmer, we’re so busy. But don’t forget to check that you dropped your child off at daycare and they’re not still in the backseat. That’s probably the most tragic thing I’ve seen over the years.”

In terms of the crime rate, Keen also said that while weather can sometimes be a secondary factor in crimes — such as car thefts in winter when people leave their cars running — for the most part the crime rate does not go up in Westfield when the temperature does.

“The crime rate is very low here, which is a good thing. But there still are thefts and burglaries, just like any place,” Keen said. “Most (car break-ins) occur overnight because people will go through streets and pull door handles. If your door is open, they’re going to take things from it.”

Keen also noted that most residential burglaries take place during daytime hours.