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SAPD to re-form Street Crimes Unit

Problem Oriented Policing, Gang units to be eliminated

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SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Police Department Thursday announced it would re-form its Street Crimes Unit (SCU) this September.

The new unit will result in the elimination of the Problem Oriented Policing (POP) and Gang units, which had a combined 103 officers. The SCU will only have 47, but Chief Anthony Trevino said the department will be able to do more with less.

"Even though it's a smaller workforce, it's going to be more concentrated on the days of the week (and) the times of the day when crime is occurring," Trevino said.

The remaining 56 positions will be redeployed to the six patrol substations to provide for better geographic coverage and improve response times citywide.

"There was a lot of overlap between the POP areas and responsibilities with the gang unit," Trevino said. "We'll be able to add additional patrol resources to our overall patrol operations, and we'll be able to add some additional resources to our downtown area and still address the crime issues through our Mobile Field Force that's going to be established through our Street Crimes Unit."

At least nine of the 56 remaining positions will be earmarked for downtown bike patrol, the first time that unit has seen its numbers rise in 20 years.

The SCU will include 30 uniformed officers and 13 detectives, and several sergeants.

Dan Martinez, chairman of the San Antonio Crime Coalition, said he supports the new initiative. He said the SCU's targeted enforcement of "hot spots" will greatly benefit the city's East Side, which he said is notorious for gang violence.

"You need to put your uniformed police officers where they can do the most good," Martinez said. "We don't have enough officers in the hot spots where we need them. By streamlining these two units, making the (SCU) better, and (enabling) quicker responses, this is going to help the community big time."