Chief Thomas says while violent crime went down in 2012 compared to 2011, homicide and property crime is on the rise. The chief says additional officers and crime prevention programs will help decrease those numbers by next year. "We're holding our own, and a lot of the things we're bringing on this year, additional staffing and personnel is finally helping is catch up a little bit."
The Board of Directors seem pleased with the progress with one major concern, repeat criminal offenders. Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore says the push to keep criminals off the street includes $6 million in crime prevention programs. "We're committed to giving those individuals who want to do right an opportunity."
Chief Thomas says the police department is looking to the future by breaking ground on the 12th Street Station, upgrading equipment and technology, and putting more officers on patrol. "We're not where we want to be, but I think we've got a pretty good plan with the technology coming on board and the staffing coming on board."
Moore says hopefully these efforts will result in an even greater reduction in crime next year. "If someone's committing a crime in Little Rock they have to know they're going to get caught, and they're going to go to jail."
Chief Thomas says 72 new recruits graduated from the police academy in December. Those officers will hit the streets in the next few months, however the total number of officers remains the same. Right now the department is just keeping up with attrition.