KOLD: Proactive policing, TPD program cutting down on property crime

By Karly Tinsley | June 27, 2019 at 9:36 PM MST - Updated June 27 at 10:19 PM

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - For 40 years, Curt Brill has seen his neighborhood in Flowing Wells grow and change.

"Things have really changed drastically,” explained Brill. And within the past few years it hasn’t been for the better. "For me, I found syringes on one of the side streets and that was the limit for me.”

Not only did Brill worry about his and his neighbors’ safety, but for the students just across the street.

"I thought first of all for my sake and I didn’t want it and also for the kids sake,” said Brill, who lives right across from Flowing Wells High School.

Brill and his neighbors took matters into their own hands by creating a neighborhood watch group. It’s become a common theme since some neighborhoods don’t feel the police are doing enough.

It’s something the police are well aware of.

"One of the biggest things we hear, in fact the most frequent thing we hear, is where are your officers? We don’t see your officers in some of our areas where we’re seeing crimes,” said Lt. James Wakefield with the Tucson Police Department.

On Thursday, TPD held a presentation about how to prevent property crime called Harden the Target. Target Hardening is a term used by law enforcement to describe the measures residents can take to make it more difficult for burglars to target their home and property. Lt. Wakefield spoke on new initiatives at the TPD on how they are already working to be out in the problem areas more.

In fact, since March, TPD has worked to fix that by putting more officers on the street where the problems tend to pop up. It's a part of their mission program where officers target identified "hot spots" throughout the city that see higher rates of crime.

“Problems at Grant and Oracle. We see problems at Flores Street, which is just south of Grant and Oracle, at Kelso and Oracle,” said Lt. Wakefield.

It turns out, more feet on the ground means more bad guys behind bars, with drops in Part 1 Crimes, including things like burglaries, murders, rapes, and car theft.

"We’ve seen a reduction out on the west side about 25 percent of our overall Part 1 crimes,” said Lt. Wakefield

That percent could potentially rise as the program continues into the fall. And TPD’s work is far from over. But for community members like Brill, they’re happy to see the changes.

"And we are seeing it and it is making a difference,” said Brill.

To help get that crime reduction percent even higher, TPD officers are going to be hitting the streets soon. It’s a part of their strategic decision support center. Police said instead of waiting for you to come to them, they’ll be able to come to you.

Track crime happening near you: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/police/statistics