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Inquisitive deputies to be knocking at the door

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LANCASTER — Sheriff’s deputies engaged in an aggressive Antelope Valley crime-fighting effort will shift tactics today. Deputies who typically patrol streets will instead knock on doors. Their primary crime-fighting tools will be pens and notepads, not batons and pepper spray. Their main objective will be to build relationships, not make arrests. That’s according to a leading area law enforcement official, who said sheriff’s deputies will hit the streets of central Lancaster today in a survey that aims to engage the public and gain information that could be useful in fighting crime. The survey — a component of the Antelope Valley Crime-Fighting Initiative — will closely mirror an April 14 query conducted in central Palmdale, said Lt. Bobby Denham, who’s been assigned to coordinate the crime-suppression effort. According to Denham, today’s task is among the most significant components of the crime-fighting program. “Probably the most important thing is that we develop a relationship with the community, that deputies and residents talk about what’s going on in their neighborhoods,” Denham said. The AVCFI — established March 20 on orders from Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca — has flooded the streets with out-of-town Community Oriented Police (COP) and High Impact Team (HIT) deputies in an ongoing crime- and gang-suppression effort. The AVCFI already has produced more than 300 arrests. Those detained include several active criminal gang leaders, Denham said. Although sheriff’s deputies have previously conducted crime-prevention-oriented surveys, using out-of-town COP and HIT deputies for such purposes is unprecedented in the Antelope Valley, Denham said. Denham said deputies will begin knocking on doors in a 10-square-block area north of Avenue I and West of 10th Street West about 9 a.m. He said they aim to visit approximately 500 apartments and homes this morning. Additionally, deputies will establish an open-to-the-public command post on the corner of Avenue H-8 and 10th Street West at 10 a.m. Spanish-speaking translators will be available to the surveying deputies, and at the command post. Denham said law enforcement officials are aware that drugs, gangs and violent street crimes top the list of public concerns, but said the survey provides a useful way to engage the public it is counting on to generate useful information. He said information to the public on how to form Neighborhood Watch and Business Watch groups will be available at the command post. “These are people that live in these neighborhoods, and oftentimes they can provide insights into gang activity, where and when it’s occurring,” Denham said. “Sometimes that information allows us to fill the gaps so that we can be more effective fighting crime.” — Gideon Rubin (661) [email protected]last_img

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