Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Atlantic Beach Expands City's Police Bicycle Patrols; Effort Moves East after Seeing Success along Mayport Road

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Atlantic Beach Expands City's Police Bicycle Patrols; Effort Moves East after Seeing Success along Mayport Road

Article excerpt

Byline: DREW DIXON

ATLANTIC BEACH - Two years after the city began a community policing program with officers on bicycles to stem crime in the Mayport Road corridor area, the effort is going citywide.

The effort with two officers patrolling streets on bikes began in 2008, targeting the city's highest crime area, and results proved dramatic.

Police Chief Michael Classey said two more bike patrol officers are pedaling their way into more affluent neighborhoods to drive down crime.

"It is an offshoot of the success we've had in the Mayport Road corridor area," Classey said Friday. "Now I'm getting feedback from the community that they'd like to see some of that in the rest of the city."

The original two full-time officer patrols on bikes patrolled Mayport Road and Royal Palms, in southern Atlantic Beach just east of Mayport Road. The point of the program is to get officers out of their cars and in touch with residents and businesses that have been plagued for decades with rampant crime along the Mayport corridor.

The early results proved notable with crime rates dropping 42 percent for violent and property offenses, which fell from 143 incidents in the first quarter of 2009 to 83 for the first three months of this year. Classey also attributed some of that to an "extremely cold" winter this year, which kept many criminals off the streets.

But he also said the police on bikes effort was a direct contributing factor to the continually decreasing crime rate. It fell from 216 crimes from January through May of 2009 to 185 for the same time frame this year.

So Classey said the cops on bikes should be expanded to more affluent areas. …

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