Property crime increase may prompt changes at San Antonio Police Department
SAPD: No changes officially on table, sources say discussions ongoing
San Antonio recorded 80,868 property crimes in 2011, according to the latest crime statistics released by the FBI.
That ranks the Alamo City among the country's worst largest city, nearly double Austin's rate, and more than 20,000 more than Dallas.
It's a problem that's been acknowledged by the police department and they have said they'll work to fix it.
But a proposal first introduced early last year has some detectives in the property crimes division nervous.
The plan would be to centralize the entire unit into the department's building on Academic Court.
That would mean removing approximately 60 or so officers from their stations at one of six substations around the city.
It's a tactic already used for the department's robbery task force, to good results.
But detectives who requested anonymity for this story said robbery is a different kind of crime.
"In order to solve a string of home burglaries, you really need to have a feel for the neighborhood you're working in," said one detective. "That can't happen if you're working 25 miles away."
SAPD responded to the claim with the following statement from Chief William McManus: “There are no plans at this time to centralize our property crimes section. As we continually evaluate and look for ways to improve, we routinely explore different strategies and tactics to deal with crime. However, no decisions have been made for any changes."
San Antonio Police Officer Association President Michael Helle said he knew of no specific plans, but said the department was actively working to try and reduce the property crime issue.
"There is a committee being headed by Assistant Chief Geraldine Garcia where she is listening to all parties to try and figure out how the property crimes division can best work for the community," said Helle.
Garcia has a personal interest in the unit's success. In addition to her professional duty, her home was burglarized recently while at work. Detectives did make an arrest in her case.
No time-frame for any changes to be implemented in the department was given.
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