WTNH TV-News New Haven, Conn.
Meriden, Conn. -- Police in Meriden are making some changes to the way in which they patrol neighborhoods.
Officers are hoping to create a closer relationship with the people, making them feel even safer when they walk the streets.
We visited one neighborhood in Meriden where there was a recent shooting, a stabbing and problems with drugs. It's one area where Meriden police officers are stepping up their foot patrols knowing that one of their best weapons against crime is building community relationships.
"I'm going to start concentrating on gang activity and drug activity," says Officer John Neron.
Meriden police are taking steps to rebuild relationships in troubled neighborhoods.
"How are you?" asks Neron.
Once a week, several teams of officers will be hitting the streets on foot doing what they can't from a cruiser.
"Let's see if Mary's home," says Neron.
Getting to know the people who live in problem areas.
"Two girls were fighting and one got stabbed right in front of our house, so maybe with them we'll have some peace," says Michelle Rosado.
Between complaints and concerns the Meriden Police Department has made a bigger commitment to walking the beat. This Monday night Officer John Neron was getting out the word.
"They're going to allow us to remain in our neighborhoods and they're not going to pull us out of here," says Neron.
Between doling out friendly advice to bonding with people, Neron says the tips they get from residents are invaluable.
"They're my eyes and ears," says Neron.
Meriden police say they just made 10 to 15 drug arrests just on this street this year and it all came out of walking the beat and talking to people.
Now that the patrols are back in full force, neighbor's are taking comfort.
"Great, I can go for a walk and feel safe," says Lynn Sears.
And Officer Neron knows that walking the beat is another step in taking back the streets.
"Once they find out that we're back out here they're going to have to move, they're going to have to move and find somewhere else," says Neron.
Officer Neron says that many times people fear retaliation if they are seen talking to police. Officers hope by patrolling the neighborhood people in the area will be more likely to at least pick up the phone and call in tips.