The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 9, 2013

Carthage council hears report on community policing project

By Susan Redden
Globe Staff Writer

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Graffiti was among the targets of a recently completed community policing project, members of the Carthage City Council were told Tuesday.

The program is the third completed in the city in which police officers work with residents in a designated area to reduce crime and address other needs.

Patrolman Arik Smith headed the most recent project in an area bounded by Central and Chestnut streets, and Garrison and Francis avenues. The effort targeted graffiti, which Smith said residents cited as a concern. The community policing projects also focus on building code violations such as trash and abandoned vehicles, but Smith said there were fewer “nuisance” problems than in earlier targeted neighborhoods.

“I contacted 152 households, and their main concerns were traffic that passed through the area and graffiti,” he said. “And we were also able to help some residents who had some clothing needs.”

He said a number of volunteers joined in a community workday in which graffiti was either removed or painted over. Most of the affected property owners allowed volunteers to tackle the graffiti, and those who didn’t did their own painting.

The six-month program ended in December, and Smith said residents, surveyed at the conclusion, cited fewer concerns with crime in the neighborhood. He said calls for serious crimes in the area also had been reduced.

Mayor Mike Harris and other members of the council praised the program.

“The projects continue to impress me,” Harris said. “I appreciate the Police Department and all the volunteers who help.”

Police recognitions

CARTHAGE COUNCIL MEMBERS on Tuesday recognized Bill Hawkins, who recently was promoted to captain and named assistant chief of the Police Department, and Lt. Bill Barksdale, who was named Officer of the Year for 2012.