By CHRIS AGEE
Coinciding with National Night Out celebrations in August, Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan established a new program focusing law enforcement attention on high-crime neighborhoods.
The yearlong program, known as "Project 365," is comprised of four phases and Sullivan recently released data from the first quarter.
Criminal offenses in the targeted area are down in all categories except larceny when data from September through November 2012 is compared to the same period in the previous year.
Officials focused attention on an area in southeast Mineral Wells, which includes portions of wards 1 and 4, for the first year of the program.
Identified for higher levels of crime, MWPD selected the area south of S.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Street, west of S.E. 14th Avenue, north of S.E. 23rd Street and east of S.E. 6the Avenue.
According to Sullivan, the first phase of Project 365 involved heavy police presence and enforcement.
MWPD Sgt. Patrick Adams and Sgt. Caleb Randall compiled the information collected during the past three months, determining crime in the area was down 19 percent overall compared to 2011 statistics.
Sullivan explained officers spent more than 1,400 hours in the neighborhoods of the targeted area in an attempt to identify and address criminal behavior.
According to the report, police stopped about 150 pedestrians, primarily during late-night hours.
Officers made 32 arrests during the first phase for offenses including aggravated assault, burglary, theft and public intoxication, police said.
Additionally, the report notes two parole violations and 35 outstanding local warrants were cleared during the increased police presence.
Sullivan explained phase two, which is currently underway, will focus on vigilant police presence and an emphasis on code enforcement.
He said officers will now begin focusing on quality of life concerns, including delapitated buildings and other issues.
Phase three will emphasize a partnership between police and the community while phase four is dedicated to revitalization projects.
The first Project 365 will end with the 2013 National Night Out, after which authorities will switch their focus to another area of Mineral Wells.