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Plans Announced for Increased Police Presence in Downtown Springfield

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — The city of Springfield today unveiled a new push to keep downtown safe for residents and visitors.

Saying it’s great to see a cop out walking his beat, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno announced a new safety initiative today at city hall.

The mayor, flanked by Police Commissioner William Fitchet, and Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy outlined plans to put more police ‘on the beat’ downtown.

The program will use funding made available through cost saving efforts at the parking authority… about $25,000 a month.

These new ‘highly visible deployments’ will include walking and bike patrols downtown during daytime and evening hours, and an extra detail on weekends in the entertainment district.

“We’re going to synchronize this with event going on at the MassMutual Center, Symphony Hall, conventions, festivals, parades, and concerts. Other events and activities going on downtown,” said Mayor Sarno.

“I call it showing the flag. In other words people love to see the walking officer, they love to interact with him. So we’re going to use those types of patrols along with bicycle patrols which are very effective and just as personable. The officers are accessible,” said Police Commissioner Fitchet.

The new patrols are part of a larger effort by the city to increase downtown safety.

Earlier this spring, the city also began installing new and brighter streetlights in the entertainment and business districts.

You can expect to see the added police presence starting this weekend.

The number of deployments will vary week to week depending on crime trends, special events, and even the weather.

High visibility deployments would include:

  • Walking Posts – Walking patrols will be deployed on a daily basis during the daytime and evening hours, based upon the highest volume of activity.
  • Bicycle and Scooter posts – City leaders say the use of bikes and scooters (Piaggios) have proven to be an effective bridge between walking patrols and cruiser patrols. The deployment of these units will depend on the time of day and evening, based on activity levels.
  • Walking Patrols in the Entertainment District – This deployment will aim to disrupt criminal activity in the district, where there is a high number of bar patrons and the highest incidence of crime. The funding currently allows for one additional detail on either Friday or Saturday night.

High enforcement deployments include:

  • Anti-Prostitution details – Designed to disrupt prostitution and any associated criminal activity through undercover investigations and arrests.
  • Liquor License Compliance – Designed to enforce liquor laws and other city ordinances targeting restaurants and bars.
  • Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS) – Using location-based crime and traffic crash data to determine best methods to deploy resources

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