Christine Lee, Irving Reporter
Business owners and residents say a crime task force in Irving is helping improved the neighborhood safety.
Irving police are crediting a new initiative with a huge drop in crime in one neighborhood.
In May, the Irving Police Department designated a special team to focus on a problem area around Belt Line Road and Northgate Drive. The Belt Line Initiative consists of six officers and a sergeant.
Officer Robert Reeves said crime activities in this area have dropped almost 50 percent during the five-month period when compared to the same period in 2011.
"We're not out here to just do a 'zero tolerance, take everybody to jail,'" he said. "This is more out here trying to find the root cause of the problem and solve it."
Reeves also said he and his teammates patrol the streets and talk to residents and business owners on a daily basis. He said building trust with community members has played a role in the positive change so far.
"It's nice to get those personal relationships with the business owners, our apartment managers," Reeves said. "We've developed that rapport with them where they definitely feel comfortable calling us."
Residents who live and work in the area said their quality of life has improved in recent months.
"I feel a lot more safer, more secure about being able to conduct business, as well as my clients who may come around this area at day or at night," Clarence Saunders said.
Anna Martinez, property manager at the Stonehill Terrace Apartments, said the drug activities she was dealing with in the past year and a half is no longer a problem.
"We haven't had any drug activity since they came," she said. "Any problems that we have they get rid of the problem right away."