(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) -- In 2016 when Bill McMurray was running for mayor he made battling crime one of his major focus points.
Immediately after being elected, he established a Blue Ribbon committee to look for answers. One of them is what they call "Special Operations" where law enforcement blanket the city looking for criminals.
"It's probably one of the most dramatic ones. Everyone hears the helicopters," McMurray said, referring to helicopters that are often used as eyes in the skies to help with the apprehension of suspects.
The joint operations between police, the sheriff's department and state patrol focus their attention on getting people off the streets, knowing that often the bad guys won't cooperate.
"There are certain individuals out there that are going to flee from us when we are going to make stops," said Cpt. Jeff Wilson with the St. Joseph Police Department. "We try to design operations around apprehending a high-risk offender."
Between an operation in September and one last week, they made 60 stops, more than a dozen arrests, found stolen vehicles and confiscated illegal firearms.
"With good results, people who have tried to get away from the police officers that have been apprehended," McMurray said.
The mayor likes to point to some October statistics to show progress is being made on crime.
"Robbery is down 23.53 percent, aggrivated assault down 25.82 percent, burglary down 21.73 percent, theft from vehicles down 12.47 percent," he said.
McMurray admits car thefts are still a problem but one they are working on. Police are hesitant to say what their plans are, not to tip off the criminals.
Both he and Wilson agree there's work to be done.
"We're real lucky here in St. Joe. We really do live in a safe community. We have some crime problems, The police are working on them. We are a safer community than we were a year ago and a year ago we were a lot better than the previous year," McMurray said.
The next meeting of the Mayor's crime commission is scheduled for next Monday, December 15 at 12:30 p.m. at City Hall.
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