Heat maps allow the Amarillo Police Department to narrow gun violence down to 3 neighborhoods
AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Experts say 60 percent of gun violence takes place in residential areas, and the majority takes place in north Amarillo.
“In Amarillo specifically most of the gun violence is really concentrated in about three neighborhoods. It’s Eastridge, it’s the North Heights and it’s San Jacinto,” says West Texas A&M University Instructor of Criminal Justice Jeanette Arpero.
Amarillo Police Department went more into detail.
“We have several areas in Amarillo that we’ve identified as higher in violent crime. One of those is the San Jacinto area, North Heights area, the Hamlet neighborhood and the Eastridge neighborhood, among others,” says APD Chief of Police Martin Birkenfeld.
Birkenfeld says it depends on what type of shootings they are looking at.
“The bulk of our homicides have occurred north of I-40 in Amarillo, and a larger part east of downtown corridor. So certainly it shows us where the bulk of our homicides are occurring. when we look at those maps,” says Birkenfeld.
APD says demographics are a factor in why gun violence takes place in specific areas of Amarillo.
There’s a variety of factors and certainly poverty is a driving factor in gun violence. We see that particularly in neighborhoods that have challenges with poverty, those neighborhoods have a higher rate of violent crime, and in particular shootings,” says Birkenfeld.
APD collects detailed data allowing them to have heat maps of where guns were set off.
When it comes to prevention, having this data allows Amarillo police to pinpoint where they need to be patrolling. While the department believes patrolling can help some, response time is an important part of their strategy to combating gun violence.
“Our overall strategy continues to be focused deterrence on violent crime,” Birkenfeld says. “When we have a shooting, our detectives responded right away. They start working on it to identify the offenders so that there’s not retaliatory shootings. This is so that person is held accountable right away when that shooting occurs.
Birkenfeld says every other Friday the department meets with the Federal Prosecutors Office and talk about suspects of violent crimes in order to put a halt to gun violence.
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