While most people stay inside as much as possible when the bitter cold temperatures come out, police start hitting the streets to check on Kansas Citians, including people whose way of life may mean trouble for neighbors.
Unlike many police, when officers Trevor Singer and Susie Fabian come knocking, it's not always bad news. They're part of the Kansas City Police Department's proactive crime-free, multi-housing program. On extremely cold days, they check in on some people they know live alone.
"We are just stopping by to see how you are doing today. It's pretty cold out. I know it's very cold," They said.
"I live alone, and I'm 89 and I'm doing fine," Mozella Parker said.
She said she's outlived all her family, so a visit from police might be the only one she gets to be sure the heat's running and she's safe and warm.
"I think it's neat. Yeah it's real nice," she said.
The officers will make a few stops like this in the extreme cold. But they're also looking out for people who don't have homes at all.
"We will see an influx of people breaking into houses, pulling boardings down," Fabian said.
The partners handle a lot of calls for squatters moving into boarded up homes.
"Neighborhood people will call and say that they saw people going in and out. Then the officers will respond over here," Singer said. "You find the damage that they've done, the fires they've tried to start on the inside."
All too often the homes then catch fire. It can be a real hazard to the neighborhood and doesn't provide much warmth for the people seeking shelter.
"The thought is if I can get out of the wind, I can warm up enough to survive," Fabian said.
"Whenever we do run into people in need, we always try to point them in the right direction for resources," Singer said.
They are hoping to get people into safer shelters and keep the unsafe homes vacant.
The officers get in touch with code enforcement and the dangerous buildings division to get the homes secured again when they're broken into.
The Kansas City Fire Department said vacant house fires are a big problem and they're working to compile figures on the numbers of vacant house fires this winter.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.). All rights reserved.
Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:00:37 GMT
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