The Springfield Police Department released its annual report for the year of 2020 on Friday, April 3. In total, over 25,000 offenses were reported. 6,988 of these offenses were solved and cleared from the record by the SPD.
Jasmine Bailey, public affairs officer of the SPD, said the police department’s main focus for 2021 is improving motorcycle safety and cutting down gun violence in the city.
“Like everything else, it's an evolution,” Bailey said. “We try to implement things as we start to see them become an issue. The main function of the police department is responding to crime and to also then help to prevent crime.”
Bailey said the city is offering a Share the Road Motorcycle course. The one-day course aims to teach participants motorcycle safety tips to cut down on crashes. Participants of the course must bring their own street-legal motorcycles.
The course will be held by the Traffic Unit of the SPD, according to Bailey. Headquarters are located at 321 E. Chestnut Expressway.
For gun safety, SPD aims to use third-party software to help cut down firearm based crimes.
During a city council meeting on Tuesday, April 27, Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams brought forth a deal he negotiated with ShotSpotter, a gun detection software that is able to accurately pinpoint gunshots heard up to 25 meters from the source. The deal is for a $420,000 three-year trial run.
Williams said 1,550 shots fired calls were made by Springfieldians but only 337 reports were filed in 2020.
“A vast majority of times information was too generic or in an area officers couldn’t locate, so they couldn’t do anything and left,” Williams said. “Having some type of technology that can detect and zero in on where these things are occurring would help. The immediate response would hopefully drive up reports and eventually drive down numbers in total of shots fired.”
Jason Gage, city manager, said ShotSpotter’s continued use would be determined by its ability to stop gun violence in the city.
“We want to see how effective this technology will be for use in our community,” Gage said. “If we find it effective, we’d discuss expanding the use. If we find it ineffective, we might not want to renew the use at all. And in the end, the technology may work great, but are we able to clear the crime?”
Follow Tinsley Merriman on Twitter, @merrimantinsley
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