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Springfield Puts the Heat on Car Thieves

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Springfield Police Department's annual report shows officers are focusing their energy on what they call "hot spots" around town.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Springfield Police Department's annual report shows officers are focusing their energy on what they call "hot spots" around town.

It's an increased police presence where thieves are stealing cars or stealing from cars. Police are using special equipment and concentrated efforts in those small geographic areas. 

When cars are parked in lots or on the street, we see transportation, but thieves see opportunity. Springfield Police Captain Ben King says there was one corridor thieves were hitting especially hard, "basically from Sunshine all the way up Ingram Mill to Battlefield."
 
"The 30 days prior we had, I believe, 13 car break in and 9 stolen vehicles up through that main corridor right there." said King

So any time officers weren't responding to an active call, they'd return to this area and park or patrol, making sure they were seen. 

"The two weeks after we saw a significant drop in crime I don't believe any stolen vehicles and only two thefts from vehicles, we even looked at it two weeks after that and it still started to come back a little bit, only by two or three crimes at that particular time," King said.

Since that first success, those hot spots have moved to other parts of town. One method is to use a patrol car that has license plate scanning technology, scanning vehicles looking for stolen cars. 

As we followed an officer from one hot spot through another, the patrol car got a hit. The officer pulled over an SUV for stolen plates and arrested the woman for the plates and additional warrants.

"We had a good affect there." said King. The "hot spots" like the side scanning technology, can be hit or miss.

King explained "Some of the other areas, some of the center city areas we've had some operations going we didn't have the same success."

Part of this information came from the police department's annual report where they outlined other specialized programs like the Family Violence Task Force and Operation Crossfire, focusing investigative efforts on a list of people frequently involved in violent crimes. 

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