The Racine Police Department aims to reduce crime by installing police officers to live as neighbors in communities plagued by crime.
The department has leased six homes, known as COP (Community-Oriented Policing) Houses, which are manned by a single police officer for a duration of three years. During that time, the officer is the department’s main intelligence source for crimes in that community.
“So anything that occurs in that neighborhood, they should know about it. Trends in crime, if there’s a spike in that from vehicles or if there’s a spike in shootings, you should just keep a finger on the pulse,” Officer Tim Cisler, a COP House officer told CBS News.
The other purpose of COP Houses is to engage with the community and help those in need. The homes often serve as a community gathering areas where children can play, or where charities like the Salvation Army can go to feed the neighborhood.
Police Chief Maurice Robinson said it’s already helped build relationships between police and the community.
“They know that we’re accessible. We’re not an occupying army. We’re here to help,” Robinson said.
The presence of COP Houses has had a dramatic impact on crime in the area. Since police moved into one neighborhood, crime dropped by 70%, according to department data.
However, the program stalled after police protests last year, which resulted in one COP House being set on fire.
One resident, 17-year-old Kamari Andrews, credits the COP House and Cisler for keeping him on a straight path in life.
“I would have been like some type of dude who was not really making good decisions in life. It took me a while to get it, like a reality check,” Andrews said. “I was going in the wrong path. I was only like 11 years old, hopping business, breaking windows.”