By Kelly Just, Special Projects Executive Producer - email
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
It's been one year since the police department began fighting crime with something the chief calls "hot spot policing."
According to Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté's blog, "hot spot policing" is about "building relationships in neighborhoods that have long distrusted law enforcement."
His program has officers step up their presence in specific areas where nearly half the city's crimes happen.
Forté said the No. 1 priority is for police to make contact with citizens.
KCTV5 investigative reporter, Eric Chaloux and photojournalist Courtney Hulsey spent three tours of duty with officers Bryan Britten and Darren King patrolling the 20 by 20 block area that makes up one of their hot spots.
The two were given exclusive access to one hot spot team to see exactly how law enforcement and neighborhoods are working together to stop violent crime.
Video captured by KCTV5, reveals that when not involved in emerging situations like a high-speed chase, drug bust or shooting, Britten and King work to introduce a small town vibe to their big city beat.
They check in with long-time eastside residents like Miss Sally, who is eager to share what she knows about the criminals in her neighborhood.
In the past, the violence made it right inside her home. The bullet holes still visible in Ms. Sally's dining room wall serve as proof.
"It has changed a whole lot," she said. "At one time, we were not getting no peace down here. We were calling a police officer like every five minutes. They'd come out and look around and leave. And they'd be right back out here in two minutes."
If one looks at the crime statistics, it appears the city's overall murder rate will be higher this year compared to last year.
However, police say 19 of those murders were committed in Kansas City hot spots, down from 30 last year. The police department said it is too early to celebrate.
Forté said he will consider the program truly successful when there is a major decrease in aggravated assaults. At last check, that number had dropped less than two percent.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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