Irving Police Focus on New Problem Area

Team of officers, sergeant working to reduce crime in area by Belt Line Road, Northgate Drive

By Christine
|  Tuesday, Jul 3, 2012  |  Updated 7:28 PM CDT
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Crime rates may have been dropping for seven consecutive years, but Irving PD noticed a higher than normal call volume in one part of the city around Belt Line Road and Northgate Drive.

Christine Lee, NBC 5 Irving Reporter

Crime rates may have been dropping for seven consecutive years, but Irving PD noticed a higher than normal call volume in one part of the city around Belt Line Road and Northgate Drive.

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Irving's crime rates have been dropping for seven consecutive years, but the city is now focusing on an area that has higher-than-normal calls.

Irving police spokesman John Argumaniz said a sergeant and six police officers from the patrol bureau have been assigned to investigate the neighborhood around Belt Line Road and Northgate Drive.

"They can sit down and talk to the business owners, the property managers, the residents [and] the stakeholders in that area to find out what's causing the crime," he said.

Workers at Goje's Salon, located near the intersection of Belt Line Road and Northgate Drive, said their business was vandalized a couple of weeks ago. Barber Kevin Gillett also said he's seen a heavier police presence in the area in recent weeks

Scott Pierson, who lives in an apartment complex near the intersection, said suspicious activities regularly occur in his neighborhood.

"I've been hearing gunshots, like, every other week," he said.

The police department has been working with a number of city departments. Code Enforcement supervisor Mike Edwards said the partnership will make a difference in the community.

"If you're a criminal and you go into an area and it looks rundown and it doesn't look like people care, they're more likely to stay there because they don't think anybody is going to care that they're there," he said.

Synthia Allen, who works at the Woodland Hills Apartments, said she saw the benefits of having a special unit focusing on her neighborhood when there was a shooting involving trespassers at her complex a couple of weeks ago.

"Immediately, the sirens came on, and I saw the police here," she said. "They were doing an excellent job. They responded immediately."

Still, some say they are not sure the officers can eliminate the problem for good.

"[The] sad part about it is, they'll probably move down to another section," Gillett said. "But I think they'll do a good job cleaning up."

This initiative is similar to Irving police's Problem Solving Unit, which has been focusing on reducing crimes one problem at a time for more than four years.

The first neighborhood it targeted, Tudor Lane, had 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 criminal activities drop by 56 percent.

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