LAKEWOOD, Colo. - Over the next six months, Lakewood Police will test a project to examine crime and traffic trends for information about where to target police patrols.
When The Lakewood Crime Reduction Project identifies a "hot spot" in the data, the department will saturate the area with "highly visible patrols," police spokesman Steve Davis wrote in the announcement of the project.
"Several other cities are also using this approach including Denver, and the results have been as much as a 35 percent decrease in crimes such as auto theft, illegal narcotics and prostitution as well as traffic violations such as running red lights, aggressive driving and hit-and-run accidents," Davis wrote.
Although the project has not yet begun to collect data, preliminary statistics from the FBI's Uniform Crime Report for the first six months of 2013 indicates that Lakewood's incidents of violent crime increased slightly over the previous year to a total of 321. In comparison to Fort Collins, where the population listed on the report is 1.5 percent smaller, Lakewood had 76 percent more violent crimes and 95 percent more property crimes. Lakewood's per capita percentage of violent crimes are equivalent to that of Denver but Lakewood had more property crime.
"We want to increase the quality of life for our residents and business owners with this project," Commander Pat Heffner, the leader of Lakewood's project, said in a statement provided by Davis.
Lakewood's first saturation patrols will occur Wednesday. The department expects it will not have any impact on response times to emergency situations.
"This targeted approach to fighting crime has been effective because cars are frequently used to commit crimes," Davis wrote. "Criminals typically drive to and from their crimes, and putting saturation patrols on the street at the time when data shows criminal incidents occur most often increases the possibility of catching criminals."
Denver publishes crime statistics by neighborhood on a map and Davis said Lakewood is also considering ways to report results to the community. The department has already established a website for the project and says data will be shared there in the future.