Fargo Police cracking down on crime in downtown Fargo
FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Fargo Police say crime is up in one part of downtown Fargo and they’re working on how to fix it.
FPD says between June and July, officers responded to over 1,600 calls for service in downtown with most of the calls coming in near Broadway and 4th Ave. N.
Fargo Police say while the perception is downtown Fargo is riddled with crime, that’s just not the case.
Police data showed between June and July, the downtown area, also known as beat 14, had significantly less calls for services than beats 23 and 21 shown on this map.
“We have big city issues that we have to deal with, but it is very safe compared to almost any other city,” FPD Chief Zibolski said.
“Downtown is a very positive and safe place for people to visit, shop, live and we just want to make sure people recognize that,” Sgt. Brent Halvorson said.
Halvorson says what it comes down to with crime downtown are those suffering with their mental health or various substance abuse issues, which is something those at the City of Fargo Harm Reduction Center say they’re actively working on trying to help the department with.
“(My staff’s) main goal is to respond to individuals in a crisis related to their substance use. So, somebody passed out on a bench, someone sleeping in the back of the ROCO ramp. Chances are if my staff weren’t doing that, law enforcement would end up dealing with them later in the day anyway. So, trying to take that pressure off the department so that they can respond to the more important issues and not be dealing with something that really isn’t a police issue,” Jillian Gould, City of Fargo Homeless Outreach Coordinator said.
Halvorson says most of the aggravated assault and terrorizing charges that come out of the downtown area are rarely ever random attacks, and instead deal with two different types of people.
‘The daytime ones tend to be in-group fighting of people who know each other who get in an argument over say, $20 or something. The bar close ones tend to be alcohol-driven fights or disturbances after people are highly intoxicated over seemingly small things,” he said.
Halvorson says the new police substation soon going back on 4th St. and 4th Ave. N., where the main police station used to be, will help in the long-term with preventing crime downtown. He says in the short term, on top of the three downtown officers who already walk up and down the streets every day, more officers will be patrolling in and around the area, specifically in those crime hotspots.
Fargo Police say they are hoping to add a fourth permanent downtown officer to the roster, as well as hope to purchase Segways for those officers in an effort to help them get from one end of downtown to the other quicker during critical incidents.
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