Springfield murder count hits 10-year low - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Springfield murder count hits 10-year low

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Springfield's murder count for 2012 is the lowest in a decade.

In 2012 police responded to 12 murders, compared to 19 in 2011.

It's not only the murder rate, but also crime across the board that dropped in 2012.

Springfield police said there is not one solution to reducing crimes like murders, but they've taken a multifaceted approach that they say is effective.

"We've built relationships with people and we've earned people's trust," said Sgt. Julio Toledo of the Springfield Police Department.

He was born and raised in Springfield. He still lives in the city today. And when he thinks about all the work the department has done to curb crime in 2012, it sparks a sense of pride.

He is part of the BADGE unit centered in the city's Forest Park section.

Since the special task force started in November 2011, they've made close to 400 arrests, around one a day.

The unit uses proactive policing, speaking one-on-one with residents and business owners in the area.

"We have to create an environment where the decent people are not afraid of the people creating the problems," Toledo said.

It's already proven helpful. Tuesday night Toledo and his unit arrested several people connected to a robbery based on a witness tip.

They've even made drug arrests and taken 15 guns off the streets over the course of a year.

"We recovered a handgun from here," Toledo said gesturing to a home in Forest Park. "That was somebody that called us and say 'hey there's a guy with a gun here.'"

Police said their work in just one corner of the city is part of a mixture of techniques proving effective.

"These officers' work is going in a direction where it brings the murder rate down," said Sgt. John Delaney with the Springfield Police Department.

Springfield police have even made relationships with the state police on their special C3 police task force in the North End. They also hold weekly meetings, looking at crime stats from week to week.

"We put police officers where the crime is and it seems to be working here in Springfield," Delaney said.

In Forest Park the BADGE unit's success is leading to the formation of another BADGE unit in Mason Square.

"We have the luxury of doing investigations, and doing proactive police work and meeting with the community and doing a lot of the footwork that develops into progress," Toledo said.

Crime is also down in Holyoke. There were no murders in 2012 - that hasn't happened in 25 years.

CBS 3 Springfield will have coverage on that first at 4 on Thursday.

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