Neighborhood Policing Engages Community While Decreasing Crime


HAGERSTOWN, Md. - When police come into your neighborhood it's usually for a crime or an emergency but now, Hagerstown Police is working to turn that concept around.

"He stops by and we talk about the community and what's going on in our community," said Larry Forrest, Hagerstown Resident.

Neighborhood policing is a new form of patrol that allows the same officers to patrol the same neighborhoods and housing complexes regularly. Hagerstown Police Officers say there are about four officers who patrol a specific region in the city. They hope this effort helps build bonds with community.

"We’re starting to get a lot of positive feedback from the neighbors. They appreciate that we're standing out here even if it's just five minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes so forth. If just our presence alone is deterring a lot of crime," said Officer Ron Isaacs, Hagerstown Police officer who patrols the Southwest region of town. 

Officers said it's another way to communicate with residents on regular basis and receive feedback about safety issues, neighborhood concerns and possible crime trends.

"All of neighbors were complaining were about.. (drivers) failure to stop at the stop sign so what I'll do is traffic enforcement as a, serve as an educational tool to let the drivers know that you have to stop at the sign," said Officer Isaacs.

Police will then work their supervisors and the appropriate city officials to help alleviate those concerns.

And many residents say the extra police presence has made a difference. Larry Forrest said he's seen less traffic and loitering on his street since the neighborhood policing project started.

"The community's a lot safer, a lot better, a lot safer," said Forrest. "As the police officers are out speaking with individuals and they're out on the streets."

Neighborhood policing is still a new concept that started with a trial period this past March. The project started full time across the city this past June. Many officers hope the project continues to grow in the future. 

"Well if we can start engaging the community, start building that trust and that way we can make the neighborhoods a little bit more safer and enjoyable to live in," said Officer Isaacs. "And don't be afraid to call on us and let us help you know alleviate the problem."

There are about 40 officers patrolling specific neighborhoods across the city.

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