Brian Kelly Twitter:@brpkelly

CLAYTON, MO (KMOX)-St. Louis County’s police chief is crediting citizen involvement and smarter policing for a drop in crime so far this year.

The Department reports overall crime is down 12.5 percent compared to the first half of 2011. Violent crime is down 7.2 percent.

Fitch tells KMOX, “We’re much more quickly able to identify crime issues in neighborhoods and when we quickly attack those crime issues with resources, we’re able to prevent ‘downstream’ crimes, that’s a big part of it. And there’s so much community involvement now, whether it be citizens police academies or neighborhood watch programs. Those continue to grow and continue to be actively used in the county by our citizens.”

Fitch says another change that’s paying off, is having officers work 10 hour shifts instead of the traditional 8 hours, “What that’s allowed us to do, is overlap officers in peak times when we know there are crimes occurring and in specific areas where crimes are occurring.”

Fitch points out that in a coverage area that includes 400,000 citizens, there have been only two homicides so far this year, “That part of the story usually doesn’t get out to the community.”

Fitch says if the year-over-year reduction in crime continues, the rate will drop to levels not seen since the late 1960’s.


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