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West Memphis Police launching new community crime reduction plan for 2017

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. -- A crime rate of more than two times the national average qualified the West Memphis Police for the Violence Reduction Network through the Department of Justice.

They've been researching, networking and gathering best practices through resources and other agencies in the network.

2017 is their year for implementation, Captain Joe Baker said.

That began with a program called DETER, which stands for Data Enhanced Targeted Enforcement and Restoration.

“You could use it to target any crime set you chose. We chose to do it with our violent gun specific crime,” Baker said.

West Memphis Police tracked those crime statistics in the city over the last three years.

Out of 415 violent crimes in 2016, 6.75 percent of those happened in the southwest area of the city.

They plan to focus on a few blocks but didn't want to release the exact location before meeting with people who live there.

They also planned to identify and track repeat violent offenders who were likely to commit more crimes, Baker said.

“That’s how you determine this area where you’re going to target your focus of enforcement actions and also community outreach actions,” Baker said.

Once they hone in on a DETER zone, there will be extra patrols in that area doing more actions like parole and compliance checks, Baker said.

"It’s heavily interlaced with community policing philosophy, community outreach and involvement of the community," he said.

Neighbors in the southwest area said they were on board, especially because a lot of children live in their neighborhood.

“Shoutout to West Memphis Police Department for doing that. That’s a really good idea," Timia Williams said.

"Almost every night it’s a shooting. You can hear it. There are a lot of children who stay over here also and I have little cousins that stay with me. It'll be a good thing," Montanece Andrews said.

Police said DETER would go in to effect February 1.