WJTV News Channel 12 - Greenville Police stepping up patrols downtown

Greenville Police stepping up patrols downtown

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

The students are back and so is ECU Pirate Football.

Hundreds of people will be packing Downtown Greenville's streets and hundreds of officers will be too. Some you'll see. Some you won't. But just because you can't see them, doesn't mean they can't see you.

"We will be out in force on weekends. We are both overt and covert. We have a lot of unmarked cars with plain clothes officers so people will not know where we are," said Police Chief Hassan Aden.

After a 2009 drive-by shooting in downtown Greenville left two people dead, controversy followed. Police worked to combat crime in the area by shutting down the roads on the weekends. But that was then and this is now.

"If you create an environment where people are just boxed in and there's a certain expectation for disorder that's what you're going to get," said Aden.

Like last year, drive-through traffic will be allowed. This year, police are refocusing their efforts.

"We've upped patrols downtown, obviously, and in the main areas where students live," said Officer Michael George, with the Greenville Police Department.

The goal: cutting back on armed robberies, break-ins, and assaults.

"We have a bunch of new people here for the first time, kids away from home for the first time, kids being on their own for the first time sometimes not making the best decisions," said George.

Police say they're working with local business owners to make the area more family-friendly. They'll be using these surveillance cameras too.

"We are considering putting some blue lights on the top so that it draws extra attention to the cameras themselves and acts more as a deterrent than an investigative tool on the back end of a crime," said Aden.

911 telecommunicators can actually see a crime as it's happening.

"We try to help the officer out as much as possible by adding extra sets of eyes," said telecommunicator, Ernest Johnson.

They'll have a constant presence even if an officer isn't physically there. Police say they're not done yet.

Now that students are back and ECU's first home game is approaching now that students are back and ECU's first home game is approaching police want to send a friendly reminder to everyone to be aware of your surroundings this weekend, walk in groups and don't drink and drive.

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