Don’t be surprised to see officers ‘walking the beat’ in downtown Shreveport. The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation (DSDC) are hiring off-duty Shreveport police officers to patrol downtown on random days and times.
The foot patrol is not intended to take the place of on-duty officers, but to add more visibility to them. It’s no secret that SPD has been working to increase the number of officers on the force and the department is having to pull officers from one area to supplement others, especially those that are having problems with high-profile incidents. Downtown has the lowest crime rate of any of the areas, so there are days that our ‘on duty’ officers might be pulled away to assist in other districts.
The DDA and DSDC understand the challenges SPD is working to overcome, but is eager to keep police presence downtown and the off-duty hirings are a way to assist in that. We appreciate the efforts of Chief Wayne Smith and the department is helping us make this patrol a reality.
The officers will play an important role in the feeling of safety and security in downtown, and so will new cameras being installed by the City of Shreveport.
Downtown Shreveport is the heart of government, the courts, finance and the arts in Shreveport and plays host to more then 10,000 employees Monday-Friday. It is also the home of multiple residences and after-hours entertainment, to the Robinson Film Center, Strand Theatre, Festival Plaza, Caddo Common Park, the downtown YMCA, Artspace, and a variety of buildings and businesses. A large number of projects are underway aimed at adding more residential, office and commercial spaces. Though downtown Shreveport has the lowest crime rate of all the police districts in the city, it has its’ share of ‘nuisance’ activities and extra eyes help! Now, some of those extra eyes are going up in the Central Business District and beyond. Cameras have begun going up in downtown Shreveport, all aimed at assisting police in keeping streets, sidewalks and businesses safe and secure.
The initial cameras have been installed on a temporary basis as the city awaits additional equipment needed for permanent installation. The DDA encouraged the quick installs after at least two Texas Street businesses were hit by a vandal(s) in the pre-dawn hours last week. The cameras, purchased, installed and maintained by the City of Shreveport, are directly connected to the City’s Real Time Crime Center.
The bulk of the cameras that make up the RTCC are private home- and business security cameras that can help with activity in public spaces such as streets, alleys, sidewalks and parks. The RTCC encourages those persons and businesses with high quality cameras to send in information to be integrated into the overall city system. Cameras might not be able to stop crimes from occurring, but law enforcement officials use them often to help solve crimes after the fact.
The high profile of cameras and the knowledge that the video obtained from them can often help solve crimes quickly often encourage would-be criminal perpetrators to go elsewhere, to seek a path of lesser resistance and lower profile. This is something Keith Hanson, the City of Shreveport’s Chief Technology Officer, understands, and we appreciate him working through the traps to make this happen.