JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Johnson City Police are already seeing less crime in the downtown area after receiving a grant.
Downtown Johnson City is home to many different businesses that bring unique qualities to the area. "Over the last several years it has dramatically improved," says Daniel Numan.
Numan is the owner of Numan's Cafe and Sports Bar in downtown Johnson City, and he isn't just talking about downtown growth -- he's talking about safety. "I'm glad to see the police have a presence downtown. It's good for us," he said.
Johnson City police officers have stepped up their patrols in the downtown area over the past few months as part of an $800,000 grant they received from the Criminal Justice Programs. The money is targeting 'high crime areas'. "We found in the downtown area that the highest time for crime historically is 2 a.m, and our community policing shift ended at 2 a.m.," says Becky Haas.
Haas is the director of Targeted Community Crime Reduction Policy, which is funded by the grant. She tells us the extra money is helping reduce crime. "We're able to use overtime dollars from this grant to run a special shift," she said. "We had 19 officers that were trained."
Haas tells us from August 13, 2013 until the end of October 2013, the Johnson City Police Department had additional foot, bike, and car patrols in the downtown area. She tells us because of that they saw a 26 percent decrease in incidents where police were called. Hass says they also saw a 19 percent drop in arrests. "Panhandlers and other people, crime is all improved when we have more police presence," adds Numan.
The reduction in crimes and the increased police presences have people who work downtown late at night feeling a little more at ease. "Especially knowing when you leave the business at night, knowing that you have angered somebody, they're not going to come back and put something through your window or vandalize your business," says Bryan Breese, who works downtown.
Meanwhile, business owners want to say 'thank you' to the officers for making people feel safer in downtown.
The grant money also helps fund 19 other programs. That money will be used during a three-year period until March 2016.