Oct. 04--SACRAMENTO -- The findings of a study on how to deal with high crime locations in Sacramento are giving police officers welcomed options on how to handle crime in so-called "Hot Spots."
"Most of your violent crimes, your burglaries, your robberies, things of that nature," said Sgt. Renee Mitchell, a crime analyst with the Sacramento Police Department.
Crime mapping and identifying hot spots are not new, but this study looked at what cops do at hot spots which can be a business, street, neighborhood or intersection.
"We are were actually sending officers out there randomly to be there from 12 to 16 minutes and be highly visible," said Mitchell.
That could be making a traffic stop, checking on a suspicious character, visiting a business, or simply parking at a busy intersection. The 3 month study showed that was enough to reduce crime at that location.
Hot spots which did not get the high visibility treatment showed no difference in the number of crimes. The strategy gives the department a way to be proactive about preventing crime so that more time won't have to be spent solving crimes later.
The study showed that when police stay in an area longer than 15 minutes, criminals get bolder and the crime rate doesn't go down as much. It also showed that crime did not migrate to other areas when hot spot crime went down. Despite the concentrated effort in key locations, response times to non hot spot areas was not affected by the strategy.
The investment of those few minutes could yield dividends for officers. Police say it's a useful tool to reduce crime and calls for service in problem areas.
"By reducing crime, by reducing calls for service and actually freeing them up to do real policing that you want officers out there for," said Mitchell.
The program which took place in the downtown and East Sacamento area has already been expanded to North Sacramento.
Copyright 2011 - KTXL-TV, Sacramento, Calif.