Springfield's B.A.D.G.E. unit applauded for lowering crime rates - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Springfield's B.A.D.G.E. unit applauded for lowering crime rates

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"They've been really involved in this community policing which has been great for us," said Salvatore Circosta.

He has owned Sal's Bakery at Forest Park neighborhood's "X" area since November; the same time that the Springfield Police Department started their B.A.D.G.E. operation, or Business and Domicile Graphic Enforcement.

The Forest Park native said now that the police have stepped up their presence in the area, there has been a noticeable difference in the community where he lives and works.

"They're on their bicycles, they're everywhere and I think people realize that and they feel safer and they feel a little bit more confident," said Circosta.

Since November, three officers and a police sergeant have become familiar faces in and around the X, walking on foot, patrolling on bikes and teaming up with neighborhood businesses and organizations to fight crime.

Springfield police said the past seven months have paid off.

"We're looking at the stats this week and they're doing a tremendous job, making over 200 arrests, giving close to 1,100 citations," said Sgt. John Delaney.

In addition, they've taken five firearms off the streets and locked up gang members.

"There's no telling how you can measure something like that, each one of those guns could've killed somebody or committed a crime," Delaney said.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno commended the police force for making these strides in the city and in a statement sent to CBS 3 said:

"Although we have made some positive strides with Operation Badge by empowering neighborhood residents, business community members and neighborhood leaders in a collaborative fashion and in conjunction with the brave efforts of the men and women in blue of our Springfield Police Department, we must remain forever vigilant to continue combating the small percentage of individuals who have disrespect for the quality of life of our residents."

It's residents and business owners like Circosta who are hopeful about the positive statistics. For him a decrease in crime means better business and more peace of mind for him and his customers.

"I think that's what's going to really set in cement this idea of safety and community policing here at forest park and at the X," he said.

The B.A.D.G.E. unit was mirrored after the North End initiative where officers have formed closer bonds with the community around them.

Springfield police told CBS 3 that they are looking into spreading similar initiatives throughout the city.

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