Close to 80 officers blanketed the expansive North Division Friday, a show of force designed to bring down crime and get traction on open cases.
The full result won't be known until officers crunch the numbers over the weekend. By early evening, police had made six arrests in northern Mecklenburg, including that of a wanted man chased down by bicycle officers. Most of the other arrests came from traffic checkpoints.
Officers spent most of the daylight hours at the checkpoints and following up with recent victims of crimes. They also walked through six neighborhoods, including the Oakbrook community off Statesville Avenue, where residents reported 12 break-ins in July.
As the light faded, officers switched to crime prevention efforts, hanging out near businesses that have had break-ins and staking out apartment complexes where thieves frequently swipe valuables and electronics from cars.
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But even with nearly all officers on duty, police say, the size of the North Division is daunting. The division stretches from near the Derita neighborhood in the south to Lake Norman in the north. At nearly 95 square miles, it's one of the police department's largest divisions, one that Chief Rodney Monroe recommended dividing last year.
“One thing we're combating, there's over 240 recognized neighborhoods – and two lakes,” said Capt. Gregg Collins.
He said Friday's All-Hands-On-Deck effort will probably be repeated.
The North Division has also struggled with some crimes in Monroe's tenure, particularly robberies, which have increased nearly 10 percent in the first seven months of 2009 when compared to the same period last year. The number of rapes reported from year to year has doubled.