Dover PD Starting New Street Crime Unit - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover PD Starting New Street Crime Unit

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Dover police are rolling out a new street crime unit. Its officers will be on the streets starting at the end of this week.

The unit will focus on high-crime areas, including the downtown. That's because recently there has been a rash of violent crime in this area. From Friday to Monday of Halloween weekend there were four shootings in Dover. Three of them were downtown.

Also, one weekend in August saw two homicides in 24 hours.

"It's something that we've been talking about doing," said Lt. Jason Pires, a spokesman for the city's police department. "It's something that we've had in the works. But because of those incidents, it's definitely expedited the process."

Lt. Pires says the new unit focuses on drugs and guns.

Looking back to 2012, data from the department shows Dover had 482 crimes with guns and 11 shootings from Jan. 1 to Nov. 4. The 2013 and 2014 numbers for the same time period don't show a consistent trend up or down.

But with all the recent shootings, Lt. Pires says it doesn't feel that way.

"No, it doesn't feel that way. The reason why is because lately our violent crime has been coming in clusters."

He says though dover is a safe city, more can be done to make it safer, like this new unit.

People in downtown Dover on Wednesday agree.

"I think it will definitely benefit the area," said Tom Morrison. "I know that just recently there was a shooting over at the college and just down the street at the liquor store. It would help the community."

"They should hire more men to protect the people and merchants here in Dover. That's what they need a lot more cops. They really do," Frederick Lehto said.

Lt. Pires agrees. The department has about 87 officers, which is below full staffing.

"In order to put this unit together, we've had to pull from other units in the police department. That's our motorcycle unit and community policing unit."

He says while Dover PD is doing a good job of reactive policing, this new unit is about taking a more proactive approach.

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