ABBEVILLE, La. (KLFY) — Abbeville’s police chief says he is bringing back a traditional police tactic, but in a new way, to reduce gun crime in the city.
Chief Mike Hardy said police responded to approximately 185 shots-fired calls in 2022.
“I’m serious about crime in Abbeville. We want it to stop, especially the illegal (firearm) discharges,” Hardy said.
He says the department is tracking previous locations and the people involved with those crimes to assist in ongoing investigations.
“What it’s going to do is it’s going to help me when we focus on any kind of sting or criminal patrol. I’ll know where to put my unmarked cars,” Hardy said.
Hardy says he intends to place unmarked cars throughout the town so that officers can respond within minutes. He encourages residents to continue to call the department about gunshots and give precise locations to help make the map more accurate.
“When we start trying to attack the problem, we’re in the heat,” Hardy said. “We’re not half a mile away. We want to be right here where it’s going on so we can act on it, and we’re going to make arrests and when we make the arrest. We have the support of the community. The mayor and the council. All the police officers in this town; we want to see severe penalties put on these people for shooting guns at cars, at people at houses.”
This tactic is not a new one. In 2002 when Hardy was chief of the department, they used the same method for different types of calls, including theft, vandalism and burglaries.
“This is an old police strategy from years ago. I just know when you start getting a lot of numbers, you want to know where those numbers are coming from,” he said. “I look at it, and I see like an hourglass. A lot on the north side of town streams now the main drag going to the South side of town. There’s a lot on the South side of town.”
He continues, “We do have groups that are sometimes shooted members of the other groups. It could be for a girlfriend, or it could be for an argument that one of them had, or they know he lives on a certain side of town. It’s really crazy the reasons they come up with, but it’s their logic, and that’s what they’re doing is they’re acting on whatever they’re thinking about.”
Another tool being used is a wall of photos of people who were arrested.
“These are mugshots of people arrested at one time or another. It keeps us up to date with aliases with associates,” he said. “They hang with these guys. So if I find this guy but I can’t find that one. I can go talk to the man he hangs out with and say, ‘Do you know where Paul’s at? Do you know where John’s at?’ and it gives us a direction to go. We don’t have to go looking at an area where he doesn’t even live. We go to a location where they always hang around this part of town.”
For instance, he said, if anybody else looks at the board, it looks like a board with pictures on the top, on the bottom, and the side. But it means a lot to the department because they need to know what someone looks like.
In addition, it helps if there is a new recruit.
“He’s only been here a few months,” Hardy said. “He can look at this and say this is the guy we’re looking for, and he may be someone that we got to be very careful with. He may be armed and dangerous. So we have to act appropriately.”