Police to take different tack
Numbers to rise in downtown Durham
By SAMIHA KHANNA, Staff Writer
DURHAM -- Durham police will soon change the way they fight crime downtown, introducing more officers on bicycles and boosting officer presence during peak hours. The changes come in response to a steady climb in downtown development and entertainment, Durham police Capt. Ron Evans said.
The plan is to move some existing officers from cars to bikes and to change their current schedule to correspond to downtown's busiest times, Evans said. About a month from now, residents can expect to see a boost from the current minimum of two bike officers downtown to six officers during the morning and evening rush hours, the busy lunch hour and weekend nights.
The Police Department has used bike patrols for more than 10 years, largely in the city's public housing complexes and areas of downtown. Bikes bring police closer to the public, Evans said.
"We need to be visible and accessible, and bike and foot patrols are well suited to do that," Evans said.
On a given afternoon in downtown Durham, there are typically two to three officers on bikes and the same number in cars, Evans said. With the changes, officers in cars will continue to drive the downtown area, which stretches along Main Street from Alston Avenue to Rutherford Street. Officers on bikes will concentrate on downtown's hubs, specifically the American Tobacco complex, Ninth Street and Brightleaf Square, Evans said.
The cost of training and equipping the new bike officers is minimal, Evans said.
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From March 29 News and Observer www.newsobserver.com