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Directed Patrols Concentrate on Crime Hotspots

Officers work overtime patrolling places where criminals are likely to strike
AMARILLO -- Amarillo's overall crime rate has been dropping over the last few years and one particular police tactic is getting a lot of credit.

    Since the APD started directed patrols a few years ago they've seen a drop in crimes like burglary and theft.

    Directed patrols flood a particular area of town with officers to halt crime before it happens.

    "They are specifically assigned to just watch areas.  Hotels, motels, movie theaters , parking lots, schools, anything like that where we've seen that increase in again, those type of crimes.  We kind of flood that area as much as we can."  Said Corporal Jerry Neufeld with the Amarillo Police Department.

    On a Friday night in October, officer Adrian Hernandez gathers for muster on a directed patrol night.  Hernandez, like other officers, works overtime on these patrols.

    As part of a directed patrol, officer Hernandez will patrol so-called crime hotspots.  Places where they've seen spikes in crime like parking lots of hotels, motels and gymnasiums.

    Officers on directed patrol will do more than cruise the hot spots.  They'll also make contact with residents and drivers in the area, mostly to show their presence and prevent crime before it happens.

    These officers don't normally take calls for anything else.  On this night though, Hernandez would be taken off directed patrol for a short time to aid officers in the hunt for a suspect in an aggravated assault.

     After locating the suspect, it's right back to the streets for directed patrol.

     It would be wishful thinking to believe these patrols are stopping crime in these hotspots altogether but the police chief believes it's a step in the right direction.

     Amarillo's crime rate dropped by about 5% last year.

     Police say over the last three years, they've seen an overall drop of nearly 20%.


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