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Samantha Hayes ReportingCriminals tend to have their favorite haunts, whether they're stealing cars or dealing drugs. Sometimes catching them in the act is luck of the draw, except in Kearns where Salt Lake County Sheriff's deputies are trying a new approach.
Deputies say actively building relationships with business owners, residents, and other public services is creating a better network for catching criminals in the act. The evidence is on the table.
The suspect's in jail, but a minor drug bust is not really the story here. It's how Salt Lake County Deputy Miguel Miranda has been finding the hot crime spots in the city where he patrols, Kearns.
Deputy Miguel Miranda, Salt Lake County Sheriff's office: "It is a program starting in Kearns and we are hoping it will start flowing to other precincts."
The program is called "problem-oriented policing." Instead of just responding to calls, deputies try to anticipate where crimes are happening.
Deputy Miguel Miranda: "That through communicating with business owners, citizen boards, community watches and our own patrol officers."
Business owners in one strip mall had been talking to police about suspicious activity in the parking lot.
Deputy Miguel Miranda: "At this time we decided we would invest time into it talk to the owners there see what kind of traffic comes in and out, sit in the parking lot and observe traffic ourselves."
Deputies have been practicing this different approach for about six months and say it has paid off.
Deputy Miguel Miranda: "Before, we would just continue to take suspicious calls and respond and just hope maybe we would catch somebody doing something wrong."
They're also practicing something called Clean Streets, looking for vehicles parked on the streets and running license plates. It's helping them discover more stolen cars, and if it's in a certain area, they say it's been easier to identify a suspect.