Police Zero in on IMPACT Areas in Joplin

By Bryan McLoone | bmcloone@nexstar.tv

Published 05/12 2014 09:15PM

Updated 05/12 2014 10:20PM

JOPLIN, MO.--- Residents on South Jackson Street are saying they've seen more crimes happen in their area recently. One resident says he's seen things stolen from backyards, and more cops on the street. The Joplin Police Department has taken notice, adding the street to its IMPACT area initiative to rid crime from the city.

"They had three officers right here and they caught someone who was hiding underneath the front porch," said Robert Leech, Joplin Resident. 

Robert Leech has lived on South Jackson Street for five years, and says crime on the street has been more common the last couple months.

"A lot of traffic in the alleys between the houses, people going through cans, busting through fences, stealing things out of backyards," said Leech. 

Since February 1st, the Joplin Police Department has received 15 calls about incidents on the 400 and 500 block of South Jackson.

"We see cops here, two or three times a week now. And the first two or three years I lived here, it was peaceful and quiet," said Leech. 

"Last month, the Jackson block was apart of our IMPACT area. Our IMPACT area ran from Main Street to Picher, and from 2nd to 6th Street," said Lieutenant Matt Stewart, Joplin Police Department. 

Joplin Lieutenant Matt Stewart says IMPACT areas, or Improving Methods Proactively Against Crime Trends, is used for the police department to focus on certain crime areas in the city.    

"Looking at areas where, not just necessarily a certain crime, but different crimes that are happening in a small area. Something we can focus our efforts on and make a difference," said Lt. Stewart. 

The region became an IMPACT area in April, Stewart says that helped vandalism cases drop from six cases in March to two last month and six burglary reports in March to one in April.

"Just have a bigger presence in the area, and try to educate our residents on ways they can protect themselves against becoming a victim of a crime," said Lt. Stewart. 

Leech says with the police department paying more attention to the area, people with bad intentions may stay away.

"You know, they'll keep coming back and back and back until somebody lets them know, it's not a good idea to," said Leech. 

Lieutenant Stewart says people should turn lights on outside their homes at night. You can also put your house on a police watch list if you are going to be gone for a couple days.

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