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OGDEN -- Nearly a quarter of Ogden City's crime takes place between 20th and 30th Streets and from Washington to Harrison Blvd. Homicides, drug deals, assaults, gang fights, thefts, burglaries, vandalisms -- the bulk of those crimes go down in these neighborhoods.
To deal with the disproportionate amount of crime, the Ogden Police Department created a special Crime Reduction Squad. Its focus is to be proactive, with officers actively patrolling the streets and making contact with people in an effort to stop problems, rather than just responding to a 911 call for help.
"People are less apt to be peddling drugs on the corner, prostituting, those types of things," said Ogden Police Lt. Mike Ashment.
Since its inception in 2007, Ogden police have kept statistics to measure the success of the experimental squad. Ashment said the results from 2007 to 2008 have them pleasantly surprised.
"We saw about a 20 percent decrease in Part One crimes in that area specifically," he told KSL NewsRadio.
Part One crimes are violent crimes, including homicides, assaults, rapes and other such incidents. The focus on the crime reduction area has also had somewhat of a spillover effect, Ashment said.
"We saw about a 13 percent decrease in crime outside the area," he said.
The squad has helped communicate issues to other officers, leading to other crimes being solved. Like the rest of the city, the squad has been affected by budget crisis. Ashment said the Ogden Police Department as a whole is down about 10 officers. Still, he said, city leaders are likely to approve of their efforts.
"I think the city at this point is convinced that the Crime Reduction Squad has been effective enough," he said.