By Joe Jarosz
July 16, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The Kansas City, Mo., Police Department’s East Patrol is using more old school tactics to combat crime in the area.
Every Monday, for about an hour, commanding officers get together to discuss the past week’s crime trends. With the help of an analytical team, a map of the East Patrol coverage area – as far north as the Missouri River, Prospect Boulevard to the west and Hwy. 40 and 75th Street to the southeast – is handed out to the officers for everyone to get a better idea of the past week’s crimes. East Patrol covers 45.5 square miles and has a population of 82,585.
The use of crime maps and tracking trends slowly started to take place earlier this year when Major Richard Smith was assigned to the East Patrol Division. With the help of crime tracking, Smith and the commanding officers are able to better inform neighborhoods, specifically neighborhood and homeowner’s associations, on recent criminal activity in their area. Statistics the commanding officers examine include property crimes, sex offenses, drug related offenses and assaults. Smith said the crime maps allow East Patrol officers to view crime one week at a time.
“This snapshot helps direct resources to problem areas or problem people,” Smith said. “The quicker we can identify a problem the quicker we can start working on that issue which in turn will restore order to a problem area. In 2014, the [police department] needs to be able to move quickly and address problems prior to them becoming huge crime patterns. Or at least that is the goal.”
At one of the most recent meetings, not only were officers learning about crime trends in the East Patrol Division area, they were also sharing information with one another, assisting each other as much as possible with criminal investigations.
Officer Jason Cooley said the community leadership interaction is good for both parties involved. Along with getting the information at monthly neighborhood meetings, Cooley said the information he sends out helps fill in the gaps in between meetings.
“They appreciate being more in the loop about issues within their community,” Cooley said.
Cooley gave the example of how after one of the most recent meetings, he contacted a Northeast neighborhood association president about specific crime in that area. East Patrol officers soon took measures for what was being done in the area and Cooley said he’d send another email giving the neighborhood president another update.