GREEN BAY - A reorganization of the Green Bay Police Department has officials tackling crime in a whole new way.
And it's designed to keep the community safer.
The department is in the midst of a year long effort aimed at reducing burglaries and neighborhood thefts by 10 percent.
In between calls, Green Bay police officer Rob Ecke is on the lookout for crime on Green Bay's far east side.
He's patrolling areas that have a high concentration of crime like this alley where he's spotted graffiti.
Ecke is also checking vehicles at an apartment complex where some break-ins have occurred, and issuing vehicle report cards.
"We leave this here with the citizen and let them know whether their vehicle was secure or not. The purpose of this is: Number one, educate the people, and number two to alert them that there is criminal activity that may be occurring," Ecke explained.
What Ecke, and more than 180 other members of the police force are doing, is trying to achieve the department's Wildly Important Goal or WIG.
From January 1, 2013 to January 1, 2014, it's all hands on deck to reduce burglaries and neighborhood thefts by 10 percent.
"Instead of running from call to call to call to call what we really want to do is really take a look at what is going on in these different areas, and then say let's pull that apart and find out why it is, and then try to take care of some of the pieces that fit into that to derail it," said Police Chief Tom Molitor.
Looking at statistics through the end of May, Chief Molitor said the program appears to be working. Citywide, the numbers show burglaries and neighborhood thefts are down about five percent.
As far as the methodology: the results are measured against an average of those particular crimes over the last five years.
"We believe that that is going to push us toward our mission and that mission is we're going to connect with the neighborhoods, reducing crime, improving the neighborhood, quality of life in the neighborhoods that idea," Molitor said.
Here's how WIG works: The city of Green Bay is divided up into four police districts: A-Adam, B-Bravo, C-Charles, and D-David.
Each district is responsible for coming up with its own ideas to reduce burglaries and neighborhood thefts. It starts from the patrol officers on the streets on up.
"People have to think, they have to make their best guesses based on the length of time they've been on the job, their training, their experience and then they have to own that result because it's not the chief telling me I have to do this. It's - this is what's before me - and I have to solve this, now it's on me to do it," said Molitor.
While districts C and D on the city's east side are seeing positive results, Molitor says the west side districts, A and B, are not seeing as much of a reduction in the targeted crimes.
"It might be that they have more traffic, higher traffic areas out there. I mean you take a look at crime and it has to do with density, it has to do with the targets, and maybe there's more viable targets out there," Molitor said.
"We've made some good decisions on what to attack to try to reduce these thefts and burglaries," said Captain Bill Galvin.
Captain Galvin, who is in charge of District D on the far east side, said his officers, are doing a number of things to keep things in check.
"We have the mentoring program, we have the drug tip program, on the afternoon shift we have officers looking for people with warrants and stolen bikes on the day shift. We've got the officers still pounding out those vehicle inspections, home inspections, and suspicious persons so when you cover all of that, you throw out, it's a pretty wide net, it's a pretty good net I think we're going to be grabbing up the people that are going to be committing these crimes," Galvin said.
Captain Galvin said as part of those home inspections officers in district D are handing out property report cards. After inspecting homes, officers give a grade of pass or fail. If the property failed, due to things like items left out in plain view or open windows and doors, the officer explains that on the back of the card. There are also suggestions on how to keep your property safe.
"Since my district is above our goal and above even last year, what I do every day is I go through our thefts and burglaries," said Captain Paul Ebel.
Captain Ebel, who is in charge of District A on the city's far west side, says his officers are undertaking initiatives similar to Galvin's district.
Officers are also targeting suspicious persons, curfew violations and prowling.
But his district isn't seeing positive results. We asked why not?
"If I knew the answer to that I'd probably be a millionaire. I really can't tell you. You know our officers have been out there, I've watched their calls that they the crime prevention calls that they do so their self initiated crime, or self initiated field activity, is up this year compared to last year so it's not like the officers aren't doing anything but we do have
a very large area," Ebel said.
Ebel explained the next step is to look at new ideas - including focusing on drug tips and trying to identify chronic problems.
Chief Molitor said he's confident in the department's success this year, but says he knows there's a lot to tackle and it may take awhile.
"We'll gear up for next year's WIG and it may be the same one because we still have some distance to travel," Molitor said.
The chief said having a wildly important goal gives the department focus and direction in how it's policing the community.
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