Safety and security in the Pinellas Bayway area was a key topic at the January Alliance for Bayway Communities (ABC) seminar. Sgt. Patty Houston with the St. Petersburg Police Department (SPPD) was the speaker. She leads seven other Community Service Officers (CSOs) in District 1 which includes the Bayway area, where Officer Meghan Rulison is the CSO main contact.
While the crime rate in the ABC area is very low, Sgt. Houston encouraged continued diligence to be sure it stays that way. The focus is on vehicle crime and SPPD’s guidance on this matter has been very consistent … close all windows, lock your vehicles, never leave the keys in the vehicle, and keep valuables in the vehicle out of site.
Sgt. Houston also addressed traffic issues, especially speeding on the Bayway where SPPD placed one of three, recently acquired, portable radar speed detection signs at the eastern base of the St. Pete Beach bridge.
Harold Butler, ABC Principal and point of contact for the CSOs, reported that he saw a definite reduction in speeding when the sign was in use. The sign records the time of day and speed of all passing vehicles. Sgt. Houston indicat- ed that top speed recorded in this 45 mph speed limit area was 86 mph.
The data that was recorded is being analyzed and will be used to schedule the SPPD speed prevention unit’s pres- ence on the Bayway. During the past year, about 50 traffic citations per month have been issued in this area.
Meeting attendees thanked Sgt. Houston, who is retiring in March, for her service.
Officers in the CSO program are always interested in hearing from associations and individual resi- dents. They are available to speak with groups and will also address individual questions. The CSO non-emergency number is 727-551-3181.
Bill Blazowski is an ABC Principal.