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Springfield Police: Crime Down Drastically
Springfield police are reporting a sharp dip in crime. The change is so drastic officers say they are surprised. Turns out there are others outside the force who share the sentiment.
Numbers on a chart are one thing, but what people are seeing on the streets is quite another.
Police and city leaders attribute the crime drop-off to officers and neighborhood associations curbing violence before it starts.
But people say crime is still out there and they are worried about how bad it will get as the weather gets warmer.
“We've been able to lock up several residential burglary rings and it's bringing our crime stats down," Deputy Chief Cliff Buscher said.
Police say from January to March of this year there was a 27 percent decrease in property crimes compared to 2012. Police crimes against people also dropped by 19 percent.
“We're getting a lot of these career criminals off of the street," Buscher said. "Even our calls for service are coming down and I think it's all due to the men and women of the Springfield Police Department."
But the department did not stop violence from making headlines. Just last weekend it became one when two people, including a pregnant woman, were tased and arrested after a fender-bender-turned-squabble with officers. Police say they were justified in their actions. The two arrested disagree.
March also brought gun violence, a man accused of carjacking an elderly woman and that wicked winter weather, all adding to the 9,742 calls for service police responded to. That number is 1,111 less than March 2012.
Some say the improved relationship between police and neighborhood associations is cracking down on crime.
“They can tell when something is going on that shouldn't and head off a lot of things before they reach a level where it does become a call for service," Ward 3 Alderman Doris Turner said.
But southeast Springfield resident Adrian Haley said those groups are not enough. Haley is worried the crime rate will tick back up when the weather gets warm.
"Can't nobody stand the heat, animal or a human," Haley said. "But it's just attitude. They need to put more things in the hood— what they call the hood--you know? They need to put more things in there for the kids. You know what I’m saying?"
Police also said the Skywatch, a trailer with cameras mounted on a mast that is parked in crime-ridden areas and at festivals, should help keep these numbers at bay.