Sometime next month, the Richmond, Va., Police Department will implement a sweeping reorganization of how its officers relate to the city’s neighborhoods, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The city’s four precincts will be carved into 12 policing sectors. A police lieutenant in charge of each sector will get a team of 25 to 30 officers and around-the-clock responsibility for how their sectors fare in fighting crime. Officers will patrol in squad cars as well as on foot, bikes and motorcycles. There will be regular meetings between sector leaders and residents.
The move is a variation on traditional beat policing. It is designed to create partnerships between officers and the broader communities they serve, and to make them more aware of issues that lead to crime in those areas. “We wanted officers to become a little more territorial,” Police Chief Rodney Monroe said. “We want to put them in an area and keep them in an area, forcing them to establish relationships with people in the community.” The chief said he already has seen some “incredible problem-solving” taking place on the South Side in one of four neighborhoods that were targeted for special policing this year. There has been a 40 percent reduction in robberies and a 77 percent decline in breaking-and-entering crimes in the target area in the past two months.