MPSA PATROL: WHAT WE’VE GOT, WHAT WE NEED
In response to questions asked on neighborhood social media sites, we are providing an overview of how MPSA works. We concentrate most of our patrol hours on daytime hours on weekdays, when residential burglaries most commonly occur in nearly any residential community. The patrol currently operates from 10/11am to 2/3pm on most weekdays. In any community – not just Midtown – these hours are the most vulnerable in terms of residential burglaries.
Sgt. Cooper, our patrol coordinator, also maintains rapport with property owners, APD operations, and other agencies such as Code Enforcement to keep them aware of ongoing issues that affect our neighborhood all hours of the day, and to help us mobilize resources beyond the patrol to address ongoing issues like problem properties. This “neighborhood consultant” aspect of Sgt. Cooper’s role with MPSA operation dovetails well with burglary prevention.
In the early years we focused our patrol hours on nighttime hours, when conditions were most problematic at that time. Because conditions at night improved considerably, we began shifting patrol hours to more random times so as not to neglect other issues affecting the neighborhood. Over the years we learned this approach was ineffective, at least in the longer run. So about six years ago we began to focus our patrol on daytime hours, when burglaries most commonly occur. What’s worse than having criminals roaming our streets in front of our homes is having them inside of our homes. This strategy has resulted in a 80% decrease in the number of residential burglaries.
Compared to an average of six (occasionally more) residential burglaries a month seven years earlier, we now see months go by without what we call a typical residential burglary (occurring mid-day on weekdays when most folks are at work). Most of the burglaries we are seeing now either occur in large multi-unit buildings with secured entry, or have unusual circumstances (like a drunk person crashing into someone’s home during overnight hours, or an offender in some way targeting someone they know). A comparison of burglary incidents in 2015 vs. 2008 is at the end of this article.
We continue to operate a few night and evening shifts. This patrol coverage helps to keep us abreast of what’s going on in the area, but this level of patrolling is not adequate to systematically eliminate chronic patterns. Nighttime issues include:
- The drug culture at Ponce & Boulevard – many of these individuals prowl around the neighborhood at night looking for items, (as of late) especially bicycles, to steal and sell in order to procure street drugs;
- Other street criminals prowling around the neighborhood at all hours of the night and breaking into cars.
- Street prostitution and drug activity along Piedmont, Myrtle, and Juniper from Ponce to 5th Street;
- Armed robberies, some of which involving violent circumstances, and in all cases are a step away from a homicide.
Robberies present us with a very disturbing phenomenon, and with it a need to significantly increase our night patrols. When we started MPSA in 2003 most of our robberies were perpetrated by offenders on foot. In the last few years it has become a very pronounced pattern for robbers to come and go in a car. They either appear in a car and suddenly jump out to rob the victim, or they park, scout for a victim, and quickly leave in a car once they make a hit. Because the perpetrators are in and out of the neighborhood very quickly, the probability that any police officer will be in the right spot at the right time is low. Deploying patrols five times a week during the most common times street robberies occur would increase this probability and help us considerably in reducing robberies. In addition, patrol hours at night would help us address the other aforementioned nighttime issues.
To be specific, we pulled in $72,000 in revenues for 2014. This figure came from 250-300 households, business memberships, and community sponsorships. Around 93% of the MPSA budget provided the neighborhood with daytime patrol shifts along with a few extra shifts in the evening and overnight hours, with only about 7% of the overall budget covering essential administrative expenses. Other than the patrol by off-duty & retired APD officers, all MPSA functions such as court watch, advocacy, research and reports, and collaborative efforts with other neighborhoods and agencies are handled entirely by volunteers.
Adding five late night / overnight shifts per week in order to more effectively target nighttime issues would run us around $40,000 in additional patrol and operational expenses (mainly fuel for the patrol truck). This additional $40k would have to be above and beyond existing membership saturation. This amounts to 145 additional households at $275 each, but this figure could be offset by additional business members, condo assocations, extra donations, and community sponsorships. Even if we fall short of the needed extra $40k we will expand into the overnight hours to reduce the criminal and nuisance activity occuring at those times according to budgetary considerations. The more patrol hours we can sustain, the safer our neighborhood will be.
Our patrol budget is based on membership dues – we are not like Midtown Blue, which is funded by a special property tax in the Midtown Business District. We have seen considerable improvement in the 12 years since we were founded, but much more work remains to be done to maintain and improve neighborhood safety. We encourage those who are not yet members to visit our website and join.
We leave you with some stats recently compiled from old MPSA eblasts. The first part itemizes 35 burglaries reported from October 2007 through March 2008. The next part itemizes 7 burglaries occurring during the same months seven years later, which reflects an 80% reduction in burglaries. Nearly all of the remaining burglaries are occurring outside the most common times (9am to 3pm on weekdays, when most residents are absent from any neighborhood), or involve unusual circumstances.
Supplement 1: Six month period October 2007 through March 2008 – reconstructed from archived Eye on Midtown eblasts (this period no longer available on APD crime map). 35 counts!
- Report Date | Crime Location | Crime Type | Incident #:
- 3/22/2008 | 900’s MYRTLE ST | BURG-NO FORCD ENTRY-RESID | 080820525
- 3/17/2008 | 400’s 7TH ST | BURG-NO FORCD ENTRY-RESID | 080770601
- 3/08/2008 | 700’s ARGONNE AVE | BURG-NO FORCD ENTRY-RESID | 080680623
- 3/05/2008 | 100’s PONCE | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 080652108
- 2/26/2008 | 700’s Durant Place | perpetrated by the victim’s ex-girlfriend
- 2/12/2008 | 800s Vedado Way | Report # lost
- 2/01/2008 | 700s Chas Allen | Report# lost
- 1/22/2008 | 265 PONCE DE LEON AVE | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 080221285
- 1/16/2008 | 717 PIEDMONT AVE | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 080161762
- 1/08/2008 | 929 MYRTLE ST | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 080080809
- 1/06/2008 | 886 VEDADO WAY | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 080061383
- 1/05/2008 | 164 4TH ST | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 080051628
- 1/04/2008 | 799 PIEDMONT AVE | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 080041910
- 1/04/2008 | 742 MONROE DR | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 080041241
- 1/03/2008 | 693 MYRTLE ST | BURG-NO FORCD ENTRY-RESID | 080031948
- 1/03/2008 | 691 PENN AVE | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 080030071
- 1/01/2008 | 360 PONCE DE LEON AVE | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 080011260
- 12/28/2007 | 791 PENN AVE | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 073620012
- 12/28/2007 | 743 PENN AVE | ATTEMPT BURG-FORCED ENTRY-RES | 073620817
- 12/27/2007 | 787 PENN AVE | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 073610872
- 12/26/2007 | 742 MONROE DR | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 073600876
- 12/25/2007 | 734 CHARLES ALLEN DR | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 073590967
- 12/15/2007 | 290 8TH ST | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 073491601
- 12/13/2007 | 799 CHARLES ALLEN DR | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 073471237
- 12/10/2007 | 229 PONCE DE LEON AVE | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 073441912
- 12/07/2007 | 840 MONROE CIR | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 073411158
- 12/05/2007 | 687 KENNESAW AVE | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 073390962
- 11/25/2007 | 631 MYRTLE ST | BURG-NO FORCD ENTRY-RESID | 073291629
- 11/10/2007 | 751 PIEDMONT AVE | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 073140680
- 11/10/2007 | 855 PIEDMONT AVE | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 073140560
- 11/04/2007 | 393 7TH ST | BURG-NO FORCD ENTRY-RESID | 073081363
- 11/01/2007 | 369 9TH ST | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 073051588
- 10/30/2007 | 759 MYRTLE ST | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 073031530
- 10/24/2007 | 873 VEDADO WAY | BURG-NO FORCD ENTRY-RESID | 072971401
- 10/06/2007 | 930 CHARLES ALLEN DR | BURGLARY-FORCED ENTRY-RESIDENC | 072791247
Supplement 2: Same six-month period in 2014/2015 – Pulled fresh from APD crime map during in May 2015 (and not recycled from existing MPSA reports). 7 counts = 80% decrease from same 2007/2008 period. At least some of these have been reported via the MPSA website.
- 03/16/2015 | 250 10TH ST | #150752286
- 01/25/2015 | 418 4TH ST | #150250445
- 12/10/2014 | 265 PONCE DE LEON AVE | #143441953
- 11/20/2014 | 710 MYRTLE ST | #143240007
- 11/18/2014 | 904 CHARLES ALLEN DR | #143221641
- 11/11/2014 | 711 ARGONNE AVE | #143150871
- 10/07/2014 | 346 5TH ST | #142802639