Tim Fitch is the new police chief in St. Louis County, the suburban area west of St. Louis, where the economy remains bad and crime looms large in the perception of the region, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Fitch’s priority is putting more officers on the troubled streets and the calm ones. “We need to put more officers out on the street so people feel safe in neighborhoods,” he says.
Criminologist David Klinger of the University of Missouri-St. Louis said that moving officers to the street from specialized units or administrative jobs helps prevent crime and it establishes tighter relations with the public. “The more officers you have on the beat, the more opportunity you have for community members to tell you what is going on and the more officers can see what is going on,” he said. Richard Rosenfeld, another UMSL criminologist, cautioned that simply moving officers to beat patrols may not effective. He said they must be targeted, for example to saturate high-crime areas, such as some of the economically depressed sections of the county.