Police know the importance of cooperation from public.

Local law enforcement agencies always strive to have enough feet on the street.

Effective manpower helps curb crime. And if recent data is any indication, local police and the citizens they serve have made progress by working together.

Statistics from the Garden City Police Department show 2012 crime rates in the city decreased overall and in most separate categories ranging from murder to less serious offenses, as compared to 2011.

It would appear that even in a time of tight budgets, law enforcement agencies still muster the resources needed to get the job done. At the same time, they also welcome help in tracking down criminals and keeping innocent people from becoming victims.

Law enforcement officers routinely work with citizens to encourage their cooperation in fighting crime.

The annual National Night Out campaign and regular visits to neighborhoods help officers get to know the people they serve, and provide opportunities to show citizens ways to stay safe.

The Crime Stoppers program, which encourages the public to provide tips about criminal activity when it occurs, is another proven way to help law enforcement officers in their investigations.

A prime example came recently when input from the public helped police track down four teenage suspects in a major case of vandalism at the Menards store under construction in Garden City.

When it comes to getting involved in curbing crime, police say citizens shouldn't be shy. Officers would rather field and investigate tips that go nowhere than not hear from the public. (Through Crime Stoppers, citizens with information to share may remain anonymous.)

When it comes to trends, local governments know how escalating crime can give a community a black eye. They have an obligation to arm law enforcement agencies with sufficient funding.

That said, it's also good to know how cost-efficient and effective community involvement can be.

Criminals thrive on public apathy. In fact, it can help them stay in business.

The willingness to get involved is a crime-fighting tool within everyone's reach one that can go a long way in keeping the bad guys from gaining ground in a community.