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DULUTH - Duluth police chief Gordon Ramsay recently talked to FOX 21's Dan Hanger about his department's priorities for 2013, and he did so coming off one of the toughest years ever dealt with -- from Occupy Duluth to The Last Place on Earth.
But the chief said that's not stopping the department's goals this year.
"It was a tough year. It was a busy year," Ramsay said.
"We are working very hard to improve the perception of safety downtown."
Ramsay says the crowds at Last Place, on Superior Street, have definitely hindered how safe people feel downtown, but he says he's determined more than ever to fix that perception.
"We're attacking that problem from many different angles. It's not happening nearly as fast as many of us want, but a lot of time and resources are going into that problem," Ramsay said."Downtown is safe. We don't have people just innocently getting assaulted. I mean, our assaults downtown are a few, and when we do have them -- it's people that know each other -- and often over drugs or alcohol," he said.
One of the biggest changes happening right now is how officers patrol communities on a daily basis.
"Rather than have police officers randomly patrolling throughout the city -- you know, random patrol gives you random results -- we know where the problems are, so we are putting the cops where the problem areas are," Ramsay said.
Ramsay calls it data-base patrolling where he breaks down the numbers every week, analyzing where problem spots are forming and then proactively sending officers to those areas before a 911 call ever happens.
"You know, we get 80,000 calls a year, and take all these hundreds of calls we get a day, and put it in information we can use to be more effective," the chief said.
The 2012 launch of the "Property Crimes Wanted Person of the Week" is continuing and expected to expand.Community policing efforts are not going away, and the department's network of outdoor surveillance cameras is growing.But Ramsay says nothing can fight crime better than a call from the public.
"It's always best to call us and for us to find out its nothing than missing the opportunity to catch a burglar or someone committing a crime."
Ramsay says the new approach to patrolling the city will not affect response time to 911 calls.