Saturday, May 22, 2010

there's a real city out there, outside your car...

Hamilton police are seeing benefits by getting out of their cars:

"By patrolling on foot or by bike officers are noticing things that may not be obvious to officers in a cruiser, or that officers can’t stop for, Cox said."
The same principle applies to anyone: getting out of your car connects you to the city - more people walking and cycling= safer community.

“Throwback” cops targeting downtown crime
38 arrests, $13,643 in drug seizures over two weeks

, Hamilton Spectator

In its first two weeks the Hamilton police ACTION team has made 38 arrests and seized $13,643 worth of drugs.

The Addressing Crime Trends in our Neighbourhoods (ACTION) team is intended to be a highly visible group of Hamilton police officers walking or cycling through neighbourhoods with a focus on driving out violence and disorder. It is partly funded through $560,000 in funding from the Provincial Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (PAVIS) earmarked for communities dealing with gun and gang violence.

The 43 member team has been split into groups of eight, plus two supervisors. They have split the downtown core into six to eight block quadrants, said Staff Sergeant Mark Cox.

“It’s a throwback to the old days, walking the beat and talking to people,” he said. “It’s grassroots policing.”

By patrolling on foot or by bike officers are noticing things that may not be obvious to officers in a cruiser, or that officers can’t stop for, Cox said.

On May 11 around 2:30 p.m. ACTION team members saw a car illegally parked within three metres of a fire hydrant at John Street North and King William Street. Conversation with the 31-year-old Hamilton man with the vehicle revealed he was in breach of a previous release.

Cox said he was arrested and a car search revealed two clear baggies containing 39.2 grams and 36.2 grams of cocaine, worth $7,500. He was charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, proceeds of crime under $5,000 and breach of undertaking.

Also around 2:30 p.m. on May 18 the team happened upon a man riding his bicycle on the sidewalk, in violation of a city bylaw, at Wilson Street East and Victoria Street. Cox said police detected a strong odour of fresh marijuana from his backpack. He was arrested and a search revealed brass knuckles and two large freezer bags containing 237 grams of fresh marihuana each. The total value: $4,500.

The 21-year-old Hamilton man was charged with possession of marihuana and possession of a prohibited weapon.

Cox said the volume of drugs and related arrests are significant, as drug culture and violence frequently go hand-in-hand.

Along with what he called a significant amount of arrests, criminal charges and bylaw infraction notices, Cox said officers have made contact with 294 citizens.

These community contacts, many who run businesses in the areas being patrolled, are central to understanding what’s going on the communities, he said.

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