UDPD, NPD begin joint crime patrols
Published: Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 05:09
As the Newark population grows with the return of university students, so do crime levels. For the first time, however, law enforcement will have a new tool at their disposal–joint patrols.
This collaborative joint patrol task force, which places officers from both university and Newark departments in the same patrol cars, expands jurisdiction for crimes both on and off campus.Newark Mayor Vance A. Funk III said joint patrol units have actually helped ease tensions over each force's jurisdictions. Arguments over jurisdictional responsibilities between officials from Newark and university police departments have subsided since the joint patrol task force was created.
Funk said joint patrols are particularly useful because they allow the patrol forces full jurisdiction of Newark. With an officer from both departments in each car, they are able to respond to all calls without questions of jurisdictional boundaries.
Since 2006, when Newark police Chief Paul Tiernan assumed his current position, university and city law enforcement have enhanced their presence at the beginning of each fall to combat the heightened crime risk that typically occurs with the arrival of university students.
Newark police spokesman MCpl. Gerald Bryda said his department modeled its crime suppression plan after those of larger cities, like New York.
"What [Tiernan] did when he first came is notice that there is this robbery problem, this problem with crime in the downtown area of Newark," Bryda said.
University police Chief Patrick Ogden said that at the start of each school year, freshman students who have never been away from home tend to experiment with alcohol consumption, making them prone to accidents and vulnerable targets of crime.
"In the majority of our crime or serious accidents, history has shown that alcohol is generally a factor," Ogden said.
Bryda said the plan divides Newark into small sectors and assigns officers to maintain a presence in each area.
"Not only does this make the general public feel safe, but it also makes the criminal element feel unwelcome," Bryda said.
Bryda said that since the fall crime suppression plan was implemented in 2006, the robbery rate has fallen by 52 percent, with other crime rates following the same trend.
Funk said the installation of additional security cameras downtown last spring also contributed to the decrease in criminal activity.
"If you look statistically, our street crime is actually down about 20 percent between when the cameras went up and now," Funk said.
The cameras allow police officers to monitor and detect suspicious behavior and act as a deterrent to potential criminals, he said.
Ogden said the plan serves as a preventative measure.
"Although the University of Delaware and the city of Newark are relatively safe places, we do have our criminal element like every city in the country," he said. "We are just trying to be proactive and keep our students safe."