DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - In a day and age when city budgets are shrinking and there are fewer police on the streets, authorities are turning to technology. Many Dayton area departments are using crime maps to find "hot spots" for illegal activity.
Lt. Eric Henderson heads up the Dayton Police Department's Strategic Planning Bureau-- The group of a handful of officers and civilians who are responsible for pouring over reports and analyzing data, looking for trends.
"As soon as there's a pattern identified, we want to get that information out there," Lt. Henderson explained.
Currently, the Eagle Ridge Apartment Complex and the Historic Inner East Neighborhood, which includes Historic Huffman, are two hot spots in the City of Dayton. Both areas have seen a spike in burglaries over the last few weeks and as a result, police are targeting those areas for their enforcement.
"We know hotspot policing reduces crime," said Dayton Chief Richard Biehl. "It's called "cops on the dots". Wherever there's a dot on the map to show intensity of activity, we need to have officers deployed there".
It's a method that has proven to work in Dayton and surrounding communities.
Fairborn Police said they recently identified the Fairborn Apartments as a hotspot. "We had officers that were focused solely on dealing with people who should not be in there," said Sgt. Paul Hicks.
As a result of the targeted efforts, Hicks said crime in that section of the city has dropped 22%.
In Springfield, the police department recently teamed up with students at Wittenburg University to compile crime data maps.
Lt. Brad Moos, is heading up the project and said they have identified two sectors of the city that are frequent trouble spots.
"It's just the west end of Springfield along Main Street and north and south of that," explained Lt. Moos. "Officers actually have something called a "hotspot check". They have the ability to put themselves out at that location, check it and make an arrest".
Jennifer Nichols lives in sector 309 in Springfield. She said, "(She) Didn't know it was that bad when I first moved in. Until now".
Although some see labeling areas as "hotspots" as a negative, authorities believe it's a positive step toward better protecting the community.
"My argument is a well informed public, is a better protected public," added Chief Biehl. "That way they can be aware of events in their community".
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