Tampa police chief shares tips with Columbus law enforcement

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Reducing crime in a city by 56% is quite an impressive task, and the Tampa, Florida Police Chief has done just that. She's visiting Columbus this week to share some tips with local law enforcement.

"Focus on Four" is an idea the Tampa Police Department implemented and their experience shows it works.

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor told News Leader 9, "As I tell everyone, there's 340,000 citizens in Tampa with 1,000 police officers. The citizens will eradicate crime with police assistance, not the other way around."

Over the course of seven years Chief Jane Castor's officers have decreased crime by 56%, a statistic Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington wanted to share with his city, "We've got a great public safety department here but we can always improve. That's the message I'm sending to our public safety people: you're good, but you can improve."

Chief Castor talked about utilizing resources, being proactive and most importantly, forming a relationship between law enforcement and the community.

Columbus Crime Prevention Director Seth Brown said, "One of the things she talked about is something we're doing now and that's the more active Neighborhood Watch group. We've started the monthly meetings, I'm attending a lot of Neighborhood Watch meetings myself to talk with individuals. So some of that we're already doing."

Chief Castor added, "Those individuals that are committing things as simple as a traffic violation are also the ones doing armed robberies, so there's no such thing as a minor crime. And also, that sense of urgency and catching these guys after they commit two or three burglaries as opposed to 20 to 25."

Chief Castor got in to town Monday night where she met with city council members, department heads and other community leaders. After the event Tuesday morning she spent the rest of the day with Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren for a tour of the police department.

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