tampabay.com

Largo police plan to zero in on road

By RITA FARLOW
Published March 24, 2007


LARGO - Residents and businesses along the seedier parts of the Clearwater-Largo Road corridor can expect to see an increased police presence soon, thanks to an $18,000 federal justice assistance grant.

The money will allow the Largo Police Department to send extra officers into the area without taxing the resources of the patrol division. The money will be used to pay officers overtime to patrol the area.

Police officials say they hope the additional officers will help deter crime, while cultivating relationships with citizens and business owners who know the area best.

"We want to convince people, too, that when they see things happen to call us," said police Sgt. Ed Sohoski.

Uniformed officers will travel the area during strategic times of day by car, on foot and by bicycle, Sohoski said. They'll gather information to assess residents' concerns about crime in their area and pass the tips to the patrol and special operations units for follow-up.

"It puts us in a great position to verify what's going on out there and consider how to address those issues," Sohoski said.

Linda Androvich, office manager for Florida Inspection Associates, said she has noticed some improvements in crime control in the area. After many years on Clearwater-Largo Road, FIA recently moved to a side street, Androvich said.

"There has been quite an effort to curtail some of the prostitution that was going on there," she said.

Sohoski said additional patrol teams will begin working Thursday and will continue for an undetermined length of time. Each patrol team will include three officers and one sergeant.