Chicopee MA police use variety of tactics to combat crime increase

Posted on Oct 28, 2015

The Chicopee, Massachusetts, Police Department recently increased its ability to see into parts of the city, among many other recently implemented strategies and tactics, in an attempt to curb a recent spate of gang-related crime. Local NBC affiliate WWLP reported the city approved a request by the department for approximately $700,000 and 11 dedicated surveillance cameras in the downtown area. Along with efforts to increase local police presence, learn from other law enforcement organizations in the region and cooperate with businesses and utilities in the area, the addition of live surveillance to problem areas could make a major positive impact on crime rates in the Crossroads of New England.

Improving visibility
The move to add cameras to Chicopee's downtown district helps the department increase its presence in troubled areas for a relatively low fixed cost. This budget-minded force multiplier is on a short schedule for completion. Officers were testing equipment at the end of October and the city was close to starting the contract bid process for installing the devices. The department's goal is two active cameras by the end of 2015, with the other nine following shortly thereafter. According to MassLive, the department wants to reposition the cameras if needed, so the devices can be placed in areas that need extra surveillance. While the cameras are one source of increased visibility, the city recently took additional steps to call more attention to potentially dangerous areas.

Greater cooperation
With the CPD adding cameras, the local power utility improved the light infrastructure in the area around Wisniowski Park. The park previously had a number of dark corners and some residents expressed fear about crossing the area at night, according to WWLP. Officers placed a test camera in the park as well, further improving security measures.

"Crime control and response are major considerations for law enforcement organizations across the country and diversified responses may gain traction based on the results."

In a different cooperative aspect, the CPD will work with other departments in the region to learn new tactics and improve its crime control efforts. An educational visit was made to nearby Holyoke in late October and a further excursion to Worcester County, which contains the largest city in the local region, is planned for the near future, WWLP reported. This approach, a learning-focused cooperative effort that draws on the knowledge of other departments without significantly disrupting operations or incurring major costs, provides an additional dimension of improvement.

Increased presence
The CPD will also make its physical presence more noticeable in the downtown area with a new substation located inside the existing city chamber of commerce building, WWLP said. The addition will make it easier for residents in the area to reach out to officers in person and cut down on response time, as well as potentially reduce crime in the area through better visibility.

Crime control and response are major considerations for law enforcement organizations across the country and diversified responses may gain traction based on the results. The combination of surveillance, educational opportunities with neighboring departments, cooperation with local businesses and utilities and other efforts address many aspects of community policing that an effort centered round a singular improvement would likely avoid.

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