West Memphis police start ‘Park and Walk' initiative to help reduce crime

WATCH: Crime prevention in West Memphis

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — The West Memphis Police Department is taking a new approach to reducing crime in the community.

WMPD started a new “Park and Walk” initiative this year. Officers park their cars, walk around various neighborhoods and pass out a list of safety tips they call the “9 p.m. routine.”

The list includes removing your valuables and guns for your cars, locking your car doors and turning on your outdoor lights.

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“What we see a lot of kids walking up and down the street. And they’re going to pull on a car door and they’re looking for a purse, looking for a tablet or looking for a gun, and if that car door is locked they go to the next house and carry on. If we can get all our neighbors locking the doors we can keep those guns off the streets,” said Assistant Chief Robert Langston.

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There were 13 homicides in West Memphis last year and two of them were committed by teens.

Langston said the group responsible for most violent crimes such as robberies, thefts and shootings are between 14 and 25 years old.

He said the department had 700 community contacts last month with more than 500 for this month.

During these Park and Walk nights, officers aren’t walking alone. Community members like Alean Tate made the rounds with police.

“Just trying to make everyone feel relaxed and comfortable when they have to have contact with police department,” said Tate.

She believes the program is making a difference.

“They haven’t seen the police in the community and now they see they don’t have to be afraid when they approach a police officer,” said Tate.

The West Memphis Police Department will host these Park and Walks on the last Tuesday of every month.