Police say patrol program in Opelika is reducing crime in the community

Police say patrol program in Opelika is reducing crime in the community

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Good old fashion community policing is what one East Alabama police department said is making a positive impact and cutting down on crime.

The Opelika Police Department is putting boots on the ground to work for a safer city.

"We take officers who are off duty so it doesn't take away anything from the shifts that are working. We pair them up and put them in cars and we send them to a different area every time," said Opelika Police Captain Bobby Kilgore. "It's random. Crime happens everywhere so we have to be everywhere, we believe, and we are confident it is working."

Police said off-duty officers will go out to shake hands, observe, and make contact with the community in an effort to build trust in hopes of preventing potential crime breaking out.

The department is comparing July 2017 crime statistics when the plan was up and rolling to statistics from May of last month.

In July 2017, officers contacted 156 people and made 25-foot patrols and in May of this year, police contacted 169 nearly 50-foot patrols.

Police in Opelika dealt with  14 drug cases in July of 2017 and just four drug cases last month.

There were five shootings in July 2017 and zero last month, possibly one of the more eye-opening stats at this point were the four homicides last year compared to this year when two homicides occurred.

"There's a very demonstrable deduction in the number of cases we are making and we believe that is statistical evidence that our proactive pan is working," said  Kilgore.

City administration is said to be funding the proactive effort and police said their work has just begun as they continue to see improvements.

"That investment is paying off and we can see a return in reduced crime," Kilgore said.

Police said since crime tends to go up in the summer, they are eager to see how this program shapes out when this summer wraps up.

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