Pine Bluff Police targets offenders in new Violent Crimes Task F - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Pine Bluff Police targets offenders in new Violent Crimes Task Force

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PINE BLUFF (KATV)--In hopes of decreasing the crime rate in Pine Bluff, police are using a similar approach coming from departments on the east coast.

High Point, North Carolina, had a similar problem with violent crimes as does Pine Bluff today, but since their violent crimes task force was created crime has gone down around 50 percent.

While it's taken High Point nearly 17 years to decrease crime, Pine Bluff Police hope in the next few years, the Pine Bluff Violent Crimes Task Force will show significant results.

In 2012, Pine Bluff saw 18 murders, and in 2013 there were 16 on record.

So far this year, one man was killed and two other victims were injured during a triple shooting on January 18th.

It's not a mystery that Pine Bluff is known for crime, but police hope to change that with their newly created violent crimes task force similar to the one created in North Carolina.

"When they first started doing it, they mirrored our crime rate, right now they have an over 50 percent reduction in violent crime," said Pine Bluff Deputy Chief Kelvin Sergeant.

Sergeant said, the following criteria was used to pick candidates for this program: they must have a violent criminal history, at least one arrest with a firearm, over the age of 18 and currently on probation or parole.

"Try to offer them some things whether it's a GED, counseling or drug counseling, assistance in getting a job; whatever we can do to push you in the right direction to help you become a more valuable person in this community," adds Sergeant.

It won't be mandatory for these offenders to take part in the new program. However, if they're caught committing another violent crime officials plan to throw the book at them since they had already offered help and they didn't take advantage of it.

Of course, those with pending charges won't qualify for this. So far, six people have been selected for this program.