Chesterfield Police use new crime fighting technique

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – When it gets cold like this in the winter months, property crimes go up in Chesterfield -- police know that because of a new formula their using to fight crime. We found out they're approaching crime-solving as if it were math homework, crunching the numbers to figure out if your neighborhood could be a crook's next target.

Sliced from their budget over the last five years: "x amount of dollars". Without money for new resources, Chesterfield Police are re-inventing their own.

It starts with looking at crime stats differently. Before officers eyed them daily- now, they're pulled up on a projector, dissected every week - so police can see the big picture. Intelligence Analyst Victoria Parrott crunches the numbers for cops.

"(Do you look through every single crime report?) Yes we do. We read every report, everyday," Parrott said.

That's about 100 crimes reported daily.

"During the winter we are a little slower," she said. "We see a lot more property reports right now."

On the day we visited several red dots cover Bon Air - break-ins are up.

"When you see those pictures that are for a week, it speaks volumes," said Captain David Stone.

Captain Stone leads crime fighting efforts for the county. He says by re-routing the facts, officers now have defined targets. They'll race to your neighborhood to solve cases based on crime, location and time of day.

"(Over the last 5 years, is crime up or down?) Crime is down," said Stone.

Flip through five years of stats...everything from assaults to car break-ins dropped.

"The trend is consistent. It is down," he said. "They're not going to be able to look out and see anything different being done, although it is."

Like set -- special enforcement teams, you probably won't notice them on the street, and that's the point of the plain clothed officers.

"The idea is to get in there and be able to catch the bad guy without him seeing a patrol car a half-block and disappearing into the wood line," said Sergeant Dave Shand, Special Enforcement Team.

The covert teams tackle specific street crimes, like a rash of AC unit thefts that happened just a few months ago.

"By during surveillance we ended up catching the perpetrator of that crime. That was kind of a feather in our cap," he said.

Shand says because of the smarter policing, thugs now look over their shoulders.

"But right now we're doing what we can. We just need the manpower and the budget to catch up with us," Shand said.

The key to solving crimes quickly is reporting them. Chesterfield Police want you to call if you see anything out of the ordinary, or know any info that can help solve a crime.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.