INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — In Independence, Missouri, violent crime has several neighborhoods on edge. So much so, the department is trying something new that’s worked for others across the country.
Detective Luis Virgil explains, “It’s new to us and we’re gonna make it thrive.”
Virgil is tasked with making a dent in criminal activity. Some say it’s an uphill battle.
“Some of the crooks know the volume in Independence. We’re really busy,” Virgil said. “And sometimes we haven’t had the resources to properly allocate and enforce some of the stuff we needed to. Well guess what? That’s about to change.”
Sgt. Justin English oversees Virgil and seven other detectives that comprise the newly formed Independence Street Crimes Unit. “Proactive enforcement,” is what comes to mind first as English describes the unit. “We will look at our crime analysis maps for hot spots. We will focus on hot spots or high crime areas.”
The Street Crimes Unit has been in existence for less than two months, and already is seeing major results. “The number show how hard my guys are working,” Sgt. English said.
The team has already recovered 17 stolen cars, 18 illegal or stolen guns, and cleared more than 30 felony warrants. The team also busted a major burglary ring.
“One investigation led us to another investigation and that led us ultimately to solve burglaries,” Virgil said.
Virgil said the experience of his team and extra time they get to devote to fighting crime will help Independence clear many criminal investigations. “We’re gonna go wherever the investigation takes us. We’re coming after you.”