Police have launched a task force to confront a spike in robberies during the first two months of 2016.
The task force, composed of personnel from specialized units and patrol, will focus on sharing intelligence with officers in the field to help identify likely “hot spot locations” for targeting.
Police are concerned not only with the number of robberies but also the increase in those involving a firearm, said Lt. Christopher Cook, a police spokesman.
Robberies increased 7.5 percent January and February compared with the same period last year, he said.
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In January 2015, police received reports of 38 robberies in which 15 perpetrators brandished a firearm. This January, there were 40 robberies, and 31 involved firearms. February figures were not made available Tuesday.
“An uptick in violent offenses is being experienced in the largest cities in the nation,” Police Chief Will Johnson said in a statement. “Arlington and other communities in North Texas are not immune from this trend. This task force will seek to identify and respond to robbery patterns by using effective crime analysis, to effectively target known offenders and gang members for effective enforcement in Arlington.”
Williams said the task force will collaborate with regional and federal law enforcement agencies.
Police said they will publish robbery photos and video and call upon residents to help identify and find suspects.
Residents who live in areas where robberies are common likely will notice an increase in patrol and traffic stops.
“High visibility enforcement coupled with targeting known offenders and gang members will be conducted day and night during the task force operational period,” the statement said, adding a timeline has not been determined.
Residents can follow weekly updates of task force operations on the Police Department’s social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook.