Chief Manuel Borrego told the Examiner today Thursday, April 28, 2016, that new analytics investigative techniques help the Wichita Falls Police Department predict where future crimes will occur. The veteran of Afghanistan said a program called ATC Raids helps the police anticipate and prevent future crimes. By using the computer program, law enforcement can develop what he termed “clusters” of crimes in certain areas of town and devote more manpower to those areas.
He also demonstrated on the computer in his office how he can create “density maps” to show where different hotspot areas exist for burglaries, robberies and other thefts. One of the hotspot areas where a lot of burglaries have occurred is in an area he referred to as “the avenues.” By a click on the appropriate icon, a person can determine in which areas of the city all sorts of crimes most frequently occur including murders, aggravated sexual assaults, assaults and the property crimes.
He further said citizens can sign up for a program called Next Door online. Borrego referred to this program as “Neighborhood Watch” online. Anyone with an email address can join their neighborhood watch area on their computers. For example, he said a person could use the streets Holliday and Burnett as boundaries and engineer their own neighborhood watch. He said “it’s kind of a new age neighborhood watch.” He said only people who live in one’s neighborhood can have access to information in it. For example, a member of a neighborhood can inform his neighbors “there is a suspicious looking white man with a beard walking around the neighborhood.”
Borrego also said there are non-police issues for this program, i.e., a person can post if they’re having a garage sale and neighbors will have access to that information. Another favorite use is if a person’s dog runs off. The owner of the missing canine can enter information into Next Door informing his neighbors to be on the lookout for his or her dog.
Borrego said there are already approximately 70 neighborhoods in Wichita Falls, “but we need more.” He encouraged more citizens across Wichita Falls to become involved in the Next Door program.
The chief also disclosed this year’s annual memorial service honoring law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty will be Monday, May 16, 2016 at 10 a.m. in front of the Wichita Falls Police Department. There will be an unveiling in the front lobby of a row of pictures honoring the WFPD officers who have died in the line of duty during the service.
The chief also new renovations to the front lobby including a trophy case. He said, “I’m going to have to call David Stout and tell him to come and get his trophies so we can have room for more of the newer trophies.” Borrego said Stout was a super motorcyclist who garnered many awards for his skill on his bike dating all the way back to 1993.
Recently, Sgt. Van Dotson won the Eliminator competition in Austin. Borrego said the officers refer to them as “motorcycle rodeos.” Is there a carryover from winning motorcycle competitions to work efficiency?
“Absolutely. An officer has to possess significant skills on a motorcyle to do a good job in that area of law enforcement. Winning competitions shows an officer has considerable skills to do his job well,” Borrego said.
Borrego also said property crimes are down as a result of the new programs. In the first year, burglaries were down 10% and in the second year burglaries went down another 8%. Borrego referred to the new programs as “intelligence lead policing.” He said one intelligence officer and several analytics personnel are involved in this area.
Borrego also mentioned that the police emphasize social media. By going to WFPDnow, citizens can follow Facebook and Twitter entries. He said Sgt. John Spragins was responsible for creating the website WFPDnow.
Chief Borrego has kept Wichita Falls at the cutting edge of advances in law enforcement. Citizens who haven’t yet signed up for the Next Door program, need to go to their computers and do so.