Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno today (Wednesday) unveiled what he calls a comprehensive strategy to enhance police patrols in the City’s downtown and South End. Mayor Sarno says visitors to the downtown and South End will see more foot and bicycle patrols during the day and evening hours, especially on Fridays and Saturdays.
“These deployments might increase with special events. We’re going to synchronize this with events going on at the MassMutual, Symphony Hall, conventions, festivals, parades, concerts, other activities going on downtown.”
Sarno says the new strategy also includes added street lighting along with anti-prostitution, liquor compliance and noise enforcement details. Sarno says the policing plan was in the works long before the recent spat of violence. Springfield recorded its tenth homicide of the year this past weekend, though all have occurred in neighborhoods outside the downtown and South End. Police Commissioner William Fitchett says criminal activity in the area has already diminished over the past year, but the added police presence should give visitors and businesses a greater sense of comfort.
“I call it showing the flag. In other words people love to see the walking officer; they love to interact with him. So we’re going to use those type of patrols, along with bicycle patrols which are very effective and just as personable, I think, the bicycle patrols the officers are accessible. And the monies that are saved from the downtown deployment, we’re going to put into the neighborhoods”
Fitchett says the enhanced deployment, scheduled to begin this weekend, is not connected to any security plans related to the proposed resort casino for the city. Mayor Sarno says the plan will cost about $25,000 a month, which will come from cost savings at the Springfield Parking Authority.