Rapid City, S.D. –Since the introduction of the Street Crimes Unit in April 2010, Rapid City’s central sector has seen a significant reduction in calls for service. Starting in October, the SCU is hoping to replicate that success in a residential neighborhood.
When the Street Crimes Unit kicked off two years ago, the goal was to reduce crime in downtown Rapid City. Since then, SCU officers have focused on proactive policing and finding creative solutions to issues ranging from panhandling to aggravated assaults.
The unit has flexed from four to six officers depending on the season, but come October the SCU will boast a nine-officer roster. Thanks to a federal COPS hiring grant, four new officers were added to the department, and the SCU is ready to expand. The officers will split into two separate units, with one continuing to focus on the downtown area, and the other moving into residential neighborhoods in north Rapid City.
“When we decided to expand the Street Crimes Unit, we took a good hard look at our calls for service and determined that North Rapid was the logical choice,” said Chief Steve Allender. “There are unique challenges associated with moving the SCU into a residential area, but there’s also an opportunity to make positive changes.”
Newly promoted Sgt. Darren Soucy will supervise the Street Crimes Unit, coordinating efforts to address quality of life issues that lead to crime in both sectors. As SCU officers branch out into North Rapid, they will focus on strengthening the community and supporting owner-occupied housing, in addition to tackling crime and disorder.
While there is no set timeline for success, the department hopes the north side SCU will not be permanent.
“This is an experiment, and it’s important that we’re flexible and open to changing our strategy as we go,” Allender said. “The goal is to reduce crime and calls for service in the north sector, then move to the next highest-need area.”