District Policing Working Well In Downtown Raleigh
Posted November 20, 2002 5:33 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — Police say they are seeing a decline in crime in downtown Raleigh. Officials are crediting a pilot program in place in the downtown area that could soon take city-wide.
According to recent statistics, crime in Raleigh crime started going up in 1998. Crime in the city grew each year until last year when it started to decline, despite a growing population.
Alex Gupton sees everything that happens in Moore Square during his shift in the visitor's booth. Crime is one thing he has not seen much of lately.
"I think it's changed drastically in terms of safety," he said. "You don't have as many panhandlers bothering people when they walk through the parks. The businesses are doing much better," he said.
Capt. Tim Shermer, of the Raleigh Police Deparment, is leading a pilot program in "district policing." Thirty-two officers patrol the area on bikes, in cars and on horseback. They are held accountable for what happens in their district, but they are also allowed to be flexible in how they protect it.
"I can take my folks and change hours depending on what crime stats tell us: What types of crimes are happening? What time crimes are happening?" Shermer said. "I know we've made a difference."
Using crime statistics to make those decisions has led to a 50 percent decrease in burglaries and a 30 percent drop in car break-ins.
Under the new plan, the city will be divided into six districts with neighborhood substations. The program will start downtown and eventually be phased into neighborhoods all over Raleigh.