Irving Police Credit Unique Program for Crime Drops

Department's Problem Solving Team looks at daily crime summaries, targets high-crime areas

By Christine Lee
|  Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012  |  Updated 5:56 PM CDT
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Irving police officers attempt to stop crime before it happens.

Christine Lee, Irving Reporter

Irving police officers attempt to stop crime before it happens.

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Irving has seen a record-breaking trend -- dropping crime rates for seven consecutive years.

The city credits part of its success to a creative way of responding to high-crime areas.

The police department created the Problem Solving Team more than four years ago. Every morning, the team, which consists of one sergeant and four officers, looks at a daily crime summary that lists all crimes within the past 24 hours.

"We're able to spend all of our time dealing with certain individuals," Officer Bryan Jones said. "Patrol can't do that because they're constantly going from call to call."

The team changes shifts depending on what its task demands. The first neighborhood it targeted, Tudor Lane, saw an 80 percent reduction in crime after the team worked in the area for about one year.

The team's next task, the Walnut Hill Initiative, saw crime activities drop by 56 percent.

The officers said they come across nearly every kind of crime.

"Typically, we respond to a lot of burglary calls and a lot of robbery calls," Officer Chad Schroeder said. "And we'll work with our detectives and a lot of other divisions within our department."

Reviewing statistics and calls for service determined the team's third task in Southeast Irving.

"We've been down here for about seven months, and in some of that time ... it was gathering data, talking to people, holding management meetings, trying to get an idea of what's going on before we attack the problem," Schroeder said.

Lysandra Cisneros, property manager at the Brittany Place apartment complex, said crime activities have dropped dramatically since the officers' presence.

"At one point, we were having just break-ins, burglary, trafficking," she said.

During the course of almost a year, the problems were under control, Cisneros said.

Officers said the key to the program is researching the neighborhoods before setting out on foot. They also said it is important to hold meetings and to meet everyone they can, including known offenders in the area.

"Once they know that we're watching them all the time and contact them every chance we get, then usually, they stop doing what ... they've been doing," Jones said.

The program's success has attracted attention from outside agencies.

"We've had some people from out of state call us and ask us, you know, how we're doing business, what we're doing, and they want to get this thing started up," Schroeder said.

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