Police wrestle with moving crime waves as criminals target nicer neighborhoods - KMOV.com

Police wrestle with moving crime waves as criminals target nicer neighborhoods

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- It seems like criminals are getting bolder, committing serious crimes in broad daylight in neighborhoods not known for many disturbances.

News 4 spoke to police officers and criminologists to find out if they perceived a trend.

One officer says the transient nature of crime is frustrating. If police clamp down on crime in one neighborhood, the criminals move to another.

But police have a way to try to stay one step ahead of them and predict where the crime will happen.

Lieutenant Jeff Fuesting with the St. Louis County Police is the go-to guy for St. Louis County when it comes to “hot spot” policing.

That’s when departments look for any type of crime trend or pattern in a particular neighborhood.

The higher-ups in the department meet each week to decide how to handle the hot spots.

“They determine crime trends, crime patterns, then direct the resources of their precincts,” Fuesting said.

They try to predict the future from the past. It can be very effective for some crimes.

“Last year at this time we there would have been fifty burglaries in here,” Fuesting said. “We have it down to five.”

The head of the Criminology Department at Maryville University says some crimes are more “fluid.”

“These software programs can be a bit predictive with crimes like burglary, motor vehicle theft, but robbery not so well,” said professor Kent Bausman.

Criminals, and their guns, will move into what is considered a “soft target.” Too often that means a nice neighborhood.

“There are pockets near the Central West End that are less than savory and so sometimes there’s going to be that spillover,” Bausman added.  

That movement is what keeps police like Fuesting on their toes.

“It can move to another jurisdiction, another neighborhood and you have to be prepared to combat those issues of it moving around,” he said.  

Powered by Frankly