Lt. Mark FarrallFeb 15, 2015 11:59PM ● By Kerigan Butt
In the last few years, the Newark Police Department has undertaken a variety of initiatives to reduce crime in the city. The results of these initiatives have been evident. There was an overall 11 percent drop in Part 1 crimes in 2013. Newark Life recently caught up with Lieutenant Mark Farrall to discuss some of these initiatives, and he explained the effectiveness of the Street Crimes Unit, the Special Operations Unit, and the police department’s use of technology to combat crime in the city.
Farrall also talked about some of the biggest public-safety issues facing Newark, including the heroin epidemic, which is a problem that towns large and small are facing.
Q: Can you talk about the drop in crime that Newark has experienced last year?
A: The Newark Police continued to see a steady decrease in crime in 2013, with an overall 11 percent drop in Part 1 crimes. Comparing the time period of January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013 to the same time period in 2012, robberies have decreased by 35.6 percent, aggravated assaults have decreased by 5 percent, burglaries have decreased by 35.81 percent, and thefts have decreased by 3.42 percent.
Comparing the same crimes from 2006 to 2013, the city has seen nearly a 63 percent drop in robberies, a 60 percent drop in aggravated assaults, a 51 percent decrease in burglaries and a 22 percent decrease in thefts.
Q: What initiatives were put in place to allow that to happen?
A: There have been a number of initiatives that were put into place by Chief Paul Tiernan when he came to Newark which have contributed to our drop in crime. Among these initiatives are the development and implementation of the Crime Suppression Plan, which involves using crime analysis to assign officers to small patrol sectors during peak call-for-service times in specific areas of the city. This plan increases officer visibility and allows for a quicker response to crimes in progress. Additionally, a plainclothes proactive unit called the Street Crimes Unit was developed. This unit targets high-crime areas and conducts aggressive enforcement activities.
To address quality-of-life issues, the Special Operations Unit was created. This unit of uniformed officers conducts high visibility patrol and addresses chronic issues in areas that experience a high frequency of order maintenance issues, including disorderly conduct and loud parties. Additionally, we continue to increase the use of technology, including a network of surveillance cameras throughout the city. This camera system, which is monitored in the Newark Police Department 911 center, is used to dispatch officers to in-progress crimes, and has proven to be an invaluable tool in the investigation of criminal and traffic offenses.
All of these initiatives, combined with aggressive patrol techniques by the Uniformed Patrol Division and relentless follow-up investigation by the detectives in the Criminal Division, have contributed to this reduction.
Q: In your opinion, what are the biggest issues that Newark is facing right now when it comes to public safety?
A: I'd have to say that the biggest issue is the continued increase in the use of illegal narcotics, particularly heroin. Most of the criminal activity we see in Newark, including theft, burglaries and robberies, can all be tied back to this epidemic.
Q: What is the working relationship like between the Newark Police Department and the University of Delaware's Police Department?
A: We enjoy an excellent working relationship with the University of Delaware Police Department and although we have slightly different patrol areas, our goal is the same, and that is to keep the City of Newark -- including our residents, visitors and student population -- safe. Our two agencies work jointly on a number of fronts, such as the Joint Agency Alcohol Initiative. Additionally, officers from the university police force are assigned to our department's Street Crimes Unit.
Q: What is the biggest challenge in your occupation?
A: With respect to Newark Police Department, I think our biggest challenge is maintaining the high level of police services that have resulted in our continued reduction in crime.
Q: What about your job gives you the greatest satisfaction?
A: As the department's Public Information Officer, my greatest satisfaction comes from sharing the accomplishments of our agency and employees with the public. We have an outstanding police force and I receive great pleasure in sharing their endeavors.
Q: What is your favorite spot in Newark?
A: The James Hall and Pomeroy Trail Systems. The extensive trail system that the city has developed is a wonderful addition to our community. There is nothing better than taking a bike ride with your family on this trail that connects so many great parks and scenic areas together.
Q: What three dinner guests, living or dead, would you invite to dine with you?
A: John Candy, one of the greatest comedians ever! Dick Proenneke, who was featured in the documentary “Alone in the Wilderness,” who moved to a remote area of Alaska in the late 1960s and spent the next 30 years living off the land and documenting his life in journals and 8mm film. While I'd never want to attempt such a task, his story is fascinating. And Warren Buffett, a charismatic business leader and philanthropist.
Q: What food is always in your refrigerator?
A: Ice cream. Unless it's from the UDairy Creamery, then it usually doesn't last very long in the fridge.