Boulder residents can expect to see more police officers on Pearl Street and University Hill after dark.
Police have created a new district that encompasses central Boulder and put together a Neighborhood Impact Team that prioritizes responses to some of the problem areas in the district, such as downtown and the Hill.
"If you look at the crime maps, we get a lot of calls in those areas because of the all the activity and high density," police Chief Mark Beckner said. "We think this is going to increase our visibility and response."
The new district is bordered by Sixth Street on the west, Broadway on the east, Pine and Spruce streets on the north and Baseline Road on the south. The new Neighborhood Impact Team, made up of 12 officers and one sergeant on duty, will patrol those areas during the hours and months when Boulder police get the most calls.
During the University of Colorado school year -- August through May -- 12 officers and one sergeant will be on duty Wednesday through Saturday between the hours of 5 p.m. and 3 a.m.
During the summer, eight officers will remain on that schedule, while four will rotate to cover Monday through Thursday. The schedule allows the department to have extra staffing in place in central Boulder six days a week.
The new team will replace the six officers on the University Hill team and two officers on the Pearl Street Mall team during peak hours. Beckner said by expanding the district as well as building more flexibility into the hours, the department was able to add more officers to the Neighborhood Impact Team.
"It gives us more flexibility to be responsive to where the problems are on any given night," Beckner said.
The Pearl Street Mall and University Hill areas often see alcohol-related crime, and Beckner said keeping officers on the beat will familiarize them with the area and the specific problems that come with it.
"It's about the familiarity and experience of being assigned to a district permanently," Beckner said. "They understand that small geographic area."
In addition, officers on that team will be assigned as liaisons to different businesses, fraternities and sororities.
"It's about establishing those community relationships," Beckner said.
Mark Stine, of the Boulder Intrafraternity Council, said fraternities had a similar program with the University Hill team starting in 2007. He said the liaison officers would take members on ride-alongs, talk to members about safety and do other sorts of outreach.
"I think we've seen some really good relationships develop," said Stine, who added that with the expanded team, the fraternities will get even more one-on-one interaction with officers.
"If an officer is working with one group as opposed to two or three, they get to know each other better," Stine said. "Kids and cops aren't naturally 'allies,' they just see guns and badges and blue, and the cops just see kids that screw up that they have to deal with. This way, people know people and then you can communicate, you can educate and you have fewer infractions and more enforcement.
"We have seen over the years reduced infractions, safer parties and less bad behavior in the general area where fraternities are located."
Police are hoping the same sort of success fraternities have had through the liaison program will work with sororities and businesses.
"Obviously, in an emergency they would still call 911," police spokeswoman Kim Kobel said. "But for advice-type calls, they can call their liaison officer and they would be able to help them."
Ultimately, Beckner said he hopes the increased police presence and liaison program will help reduce crime and create more open lines of communication with the people and businesses in the areas most affected by it.
"We'd like to obviously see a reduction in crime and crime-related problems and a higher level of community satisfaction with policing in this area," Beckner said. "This was the area of focus."
Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or email@example.com.