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Rutland Police map crime hot spots - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Rutland Police map crime hot spots

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

"I've been here five years... I grew up a couple blocks away," said Bonnie Forrest.

The Rutland native says a lot has changed in the city since her days as a kid. Now a manager at a convenience store on the corner of Park Street, Forrest says she sees criminal activity all the time.

"There is a lot of stuff that goes on in this corner that shouldn't be. There have been drug busts down the street and kids getting beat up down the next street -- it hasn't been a good scene around here," Forrest said.

Forrest says she always thought the surrounding neighborhood saw the most crime, and now a new system in the police department proves her hunch. "About a year ago, as part of the strategic plan to address the quality of life issues in the city, we started mapping calls for service, location of crime," said Rutland Police Chief James Baker.

Grant money is paying for the data-driven policing. Chief Baker says now they are able to breakdown and digitally map crime across the city."We try to determine crime patterns, location of crimes, what are the locations where most of the activity is occurring. And then we brainstorm about strategies to try and reduce that," he said.

By looking at daily service calls to the department they found that citizen disputes are at the top of the list. Animal complaints and family problems come next.  And some of the findings, Chief Baker says, they weren't expecting. "This has always been surprising since we have been doing the mapping -- our busiest times for crime and calls for service, are Wednesdays and Thursdays in the afternoon, sometime between 3 p.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. at night," Baker said.

The crime mapping also shows that the downtown shopping plaza is a major hub for criminal activity -- and a vast majority of all larcenies across the city happen in that one spot. Chief Baker says the department's use of crime maps since May has been paying off. "So what we have been able to do as a result of that is deploy resources into the areas where we know crime is re-occurring, at the time it's re-occurring. And we are using our resources better to address that. And as a result of that I think you will see that some of our stuff is starting to go south -- we are starting to drive those numbers down," Baker said.

Bonnie Forrest says she has noticed and appreciates an increase in police patrols both day and night, but that there is a long way to go -- and until then, her tough skin will help. "I'm not afraid too much... If I was, I probably wouldn't work here," she said.

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