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Watertown Police Use NYPD Method

February 28, 2008, 9:54 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

New York City is 1500 miles and practically worlds away from Watertown, but the South Dakota police department thinks a method used by Big Apple police can work just as well here. 

"It's timely information, it's relentless follow-up, it's strategically deploying personal," Chief Jo Vitek said. 

It's the latest tool the Watertown Police Department is using to kill crime before it starts. 

"It was no longer an acceptable mode to just respond to something that had occurred. What we needed to do is to be more proactive in trying to actually prevent something before it occurred," Vitek said. 

Part of it involves keeping detailed stats of all crimes officers can quickly retrieve and use to react. That reaction comes in the form of a plan immediately drawn up by commanding officers who are then held accountable for results. 

"It could be that it's vandalism that's occurring. It could be a rash of burglaries or even robberies for that matter," Vitek said. 

In addition to solving crimes like that, the department uses stats to stop lesser crimes like parking violations before violators move on to bigger ones. 

"You get that information out to your people, your resources, your officers so that they have that at their fingertips and they know where to focus their attention," Vitek said. 

And where they expect to see results on the streets of Watertown. 

The department has spent $500,000 on technology to make information available to the officers.

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