Paducah Police: Crime down in targeted areas
PADUCAH, Ky. - Roy Holder spent his Tuesday weed-eating outside his home on MLK Drive. He moved into the three bedroom home in June. He admits it is a place he never thought he would call home.
He says he had heard of the Fountain Avenue Neighborhood and it was not good.
"Selling drugs, breaking into homes," he said of the reputation, adding the home next door had been broken into.
Neighbor Calvin Shanks' home was burglarized too.
"There was a definite period then when we were uncomfortable," he said of the break-in a few years back.
Now, he says, he has noticed a change thanks to an increased police presence.
"It's hard to measure but there's an obvious difference in the past two years."
Paducah's Assistant Police Chief Brandon Barnhill says his 'Flex Unit' is dedicated to problem areas like Dudley Court and Fountain Avenue.
"This is something we know is on our radar. When officers come in for their daily shift, they know this is one of their assignments," he said of the 24-7 patrols.
Crimes, in fact, are down in both areas. In Dudley Court from 2011-2012, there has been a 20-percent drop in nuisance crimes, including drug incidents. During that same time, there was a 38-percent drop in violent crimes.
In Fountain Avenue, City leaders say there has been the biggest change. According to Police Stats, drug crimes have dropped there 76-percent since 2007. Also, during that time, 26 new homes were built and the area underwent extensive renovations.
Barnhill says the change is due in part to neighbors and Neighborhood Watch groups. He says in Dudley Court neighbors are now calling Police to let them know when shrubs are overgrown and lights are out so that areas remain well lit and visible.
Roy Holder is grateful for the changes and glad he made the move to his neighborhood.
"I feel like it's going to get better," he admitted.