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Precinct commanders for the Jackson Police Department must ensure better communication, JPD Assistant Chief Lee Vance said during a command staff meeting this morning.
Vance was responding to weekly crime statistics, which showed a second straight week of over 30 house burglaries in Precinct 1, which covers south Jackson. Precinct 1 officers reported 34 house burglaries during July 12 to 18, down from 36 the previous week but still well above the 19 reported during the same week last year. House burglaries are up 48.8 percent in the last four weeks compared to last year's numbers. For the year to date, the precinct has seen a 25.5 percent increase from 2009.
"To say that I'm not comfortable with 34 house burglaries is an understatement," Vance said.
The department recently promoted 27 new sergeants, adding roughly 2 new supervisors to every shift in the department's patrol division. Vance said that these supervisors must help monitor beat officers and keep them informed about overall trends in the precinct. Officers must know what happens in their beat during other shifts, he said.
"One of the things we talked about with these sergeants being promoted is an infusion of energy," Vance said. "We have enough sergeants in the precinct that we should have a sergeant in the field supervising folks (at all times)."
Citywide trends are less dramatic than those in Precinct 1. For the year to date, JPD has reported 13.4 percent more house burglaries than last year and 2.4 percent more property crimes overall.
Precinct 1 officers have received roughly 1,400 more calls for service than any other precinct, Deputy Chief for Patrol Eric Wall noted.
"We all know Precinct 1 has changed from what it was 10 years ago," Vance said.
Also at today's meeting, command staff reviewed the arrest of four suspects for a string of four home invasions over the weekend. Chief Rebecca Coleman praised the department's investigations division for acting quickly on tips from citizens.
Wall told the Jackson Free Press after the meeting that he has noticed a surge in public cooperation with the department. JPD's Citizens Police Academy is attracting a record number of participants and attendance at monthly COPS (Community-Oriented Policing Strategies) meetings has increased, Wall said.
"When you walk into one of those COPS meetings, and they're running around trying to find extra chairs to fit everyone in, you know that word is getting out," Wall said. "Plus, people are saying: 'This is working.'"