By CLINT FOSTER
The first year of Project 365 is in the books, having been declared an overall success by the City of Mineral Wells.
The project focused on a concerted effort to combat crime in the southeast part of town through a process of highly visible law enforcement, cleanup and restoration, among other things.
Statistics in the year-end report presented to Mineral Wells City Council on Tuesday show a 6-percent decrease in overall crime in the southeast side of town from 312 to 292 incidents of criminal activity. This – coupled with successful efforts to rid the community of “blight,” as Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan said, by picking up 50,000 pounds of trash and fixing up dilapidated properties – primarily provided the incentive for declaring the first year of Project 365 a success. But, to paraphrase Sullivan, there are several complexities and multiple facets to look at regarding crime, even in a city the size of Mineral Wells.
“It’s a long-term venture,” Sullivan said of Project 365. “This template is just a pathway toward the greatness that Mineral Wells truly holds.”
A closer look at statistics concerning the target area of the project – a roughly 24-block square area from S.E. 6th Avenue to S.E. 14th Avenue east to west and Martin Luther King Jr. Street to Municipal Highway 379 north to south – show a 41 percent increase, from 46 to 65 incidents, in the same criminal-type profile over the last year. The bulk of these crimes were burglaries of habitations, theft and vehicle burglaries.
However, even this statistic is somewhat misleading. A histograph plotting these crimes in the target area showed that crime, especially property crime, was largely under control for most of the year except for a few spikes during short periods. The biggest spike, which contributed the most to the inflated numbers came during June. Sullivan pointed out that at this same time, many transient workers with roofing companies were in the same area.