Task force provides visible police presence

Friday, August 5, 2016

The plan appears to be working.

In an effort to combat violent crime, the multiagency Street Crimes Task Force was formed. Running two-man patrols in high-crime areas of Cape Girardeau, Sikeston and Charleston, Missouri, the task force has made hundreds of arrests, including 40 felony arrests.

"You take 40 felons off the street, that's a huge bonus," Sgt. Clark Parrott of the Missouri State Highway Patrol told the Southeast Missourian.

Earlier this year, it looked like Cape might be in for a bloody summer. Two homicides took place within hours of each other in mid-May. There have been two shooting incidents since then, but all the victims survived.

One of the biggest ways that the task force has helped has been increased communication between agencies. Criminals can move freely, and it's important for departments to communicate their movements from one jurisdiction to another.

"You get into places where law enforcement is not sharing intelligence, and criminals win," Cape Girardeau officer Richard McCall said.

Violent crime has dropped in Cape Girardeau, Sikeston and Charleston. While it's not clear how much of an effect the Street Crimes Task Force had on the numbers, it almost certainly contributed to the drop. A visible law-enforcement presence can be a potent deterrent to crime.

The Street Crimes Task Force can be reactivated at any time, should the cities decide it's needed. Ideally, violent crime will not creep back in, and we will have no need for the task force. But in the event there is a resurgence in crime, it's comforting to know there's a plan in place.

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