GREENSBORO, N.C. — Walking down Phillips Avenue, Deputy Chief James Hinson makes it a point to greet every resident with a nod or a smile.
“We want that presence to be consistent,” Hinson said.
They’re the kinds of gestures Hinson says help form relationships critical to fighting crime.
“As we are continuing to be in the neighborhood, the community will have that level of comfort to where they trust the police, they’ll engage with us,” Hinson said. “They’ll let us know what’s going on.”
By January 2015, every Greensboro police officer will be doing the same type of community greeting as part of the Neighborhood Oriented Policing plan.
“I’ve gone to several community meetings,” Hinson said. “They have indicated that they want to get know the officers on a much more personal level.”
Starting next year, officers will be assigned to different neighborhoods or “zones” throughout the city.
The goal is for them to spend their entire shift in that zone each day to get to know the community better.
From now through September, police and residents will be meeting twice a month to get feedback on the plan.
“It’s actually made a big difference,” said Sid Evans, president of Benbow Park Neighborhood Association.
Evans says the neighborhood has been a lot safer with more police presence over the past two years.
“If you see an officer, it gets everybody on notice,” Evans said.
Since 2012, Evans says home break-ins and loitering have gone down. A trend he thinks could happen in others neighborhoods under the new plan.
“We want to keep it that way,” Evans said.