Amarillo police to implement future plans to decrease gun violence trends

VIDEO: Gun Violence Trends in Amarillo: Amarillo Police Department action plan
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 6:02 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2023 at 6:22 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - As we continue to break down gun violence trends in Amarillo, we spoke with experts about future plans to reduce violent crime in the city.

Criminal Justice Expert Jeanette Arpero says if action is not taken, violent crime will continue to increase in the city.

According to “Analysis of Gun Violence Trends in Amarillo TX by Herman and Hernandez,” there are seven opportunities where the police department and the city of Amarillo can explore to prevent or reduce violence:

  1. Exploration of cross-sector support systems for “at-risk” youth offenders
  2. Identification and partnership with “problem properties”
  3. Improving identification and monitoring of “high-risk” individuals
  4. Policy alternative analysis for preventing, addressing, and solving domestic gun violence, gang violence, drive-by shootings, and youth criminal activity
  5. Greater collaboration with Potter and Randall district attorney offices
  6. Strengthening of the APD’s gang intelligence systems
  7. Protocol for monitoring annual gun violence metrics

“We do have a lot of different violence reduction strategies that we can impose. We can also hit the high schools and the youth a little bit harder. So prevention for kids that are in that area that might be influenced by their peers,” says Arpero.

The Amarillo Police Department says they agree with “Analysis of Gun Violence Trends in Amarillo TX by Herman and Hernandez” and they already have a dozen officers across Canyon and Amarillo independent school districts.

“That’s where we feel like we can have the most impact is talking to young people finding out not only just why they’re in gangs, but how we can help them transition out of those gangs and have a better outcome for their future,” says Martin Birkenfeld, chief of police, APD.

So far since the analysis on gun violence trends came out, APD has already implemented two plans of attack.

“We’re making sure that our violent crimes investigators are getting all those cases as quickly as possible is one of the strategies. Another strategy is we’ve developed a gang intelligence unit,” says Birkenfeld.

Coming in 2023, the department plans to add a regional crime center as well as numerous technological tools to get on scenes faster, solve cases more efficiently, and hold offenders accountable.

“Our overall goal is to continue to focus where our community needs us. Right now, that’s in gang violence and that’s in shooting violence, so we’re going to continue our focus on that,” says Birkenfeld.

APD plans to implement drones and a regional crime center to combat violent crime.