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Orange County Digest

Santa Ana : Police Say Task Force Is Slowing Crime Rate

February 16, 1986|Mark Landsbaum \f7

The Police Department's experimental task force, known as Swat HYPES, has been "highly successful" in slowing the city's crime rate and has resulted in about 1,000 arrests since its inception last October, according to an interim report by the Police Department.

Police Chief Raymond C. Davis said last week that the 28-man Swat HYPES (an acronym for High Yield Police Enforcement Services) program reversed what had been an increasing crime rate in the final three months of 1984.

Before the beefed-up undercover and street enforcement efforts, the crime rate was running about 7.5% above the previous year's, Davis said. But the program's deterrent effect resulted in the final 1985 crime rate being only 1.29% above 1984's rate, he said.

Davis said that beginning in April, at the end of six months of operation, he will seek City Council approval to scale back the program to about 50% of its current staffing. If the program is renewed for the balance of the calendar year, Davis predicted, the crime rate for 1986 will decrease in comparison to the 1985 rate.

During the final three months of 1985, Davis said, there were 210 arrests for narcotic sales-related offenses and a total of 791 arrests on a variety of charges ranging from being under the influence of drugs to armed robbery.

Moreover, police, acting with city inspectors enforcing the health and safety codes, closed nine local bars suspected of being hotbeds of crime and boarded up 52 Santa Ana residences out of which police suspected drug dealers were operating.

Meanwhile, Davis said, police are no longer taking federal immigration agents along with them to make narcotic arrests. The unprecedented participation of the U.S. Naturalization and Immigration Service initially caused alarm among many local Latino leaders, who questioned whether the immigration agents would sweep up large numbers of undocumented residents not involved in the criminal investigation.

Now, suspected illegal residents are turned over to the INS only if they have been charged with a crime, Davis said.

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