Augusta police on Friday conducted the third multi-agency sweep aimed at driving crime out of the downtown.

Now department officials want to hear what neighbors think of the results.

Police on Thursday will host a community meeting to gather feedback on the program, which police have called Operation Hot Spot.

Lt. Christopher Massey, of the Augusta police, said officials want to know what neighbors think of the program, whether it is making a difference and how it can be improved. Massey said Thursday’s meeting is a chance for neighbors to share concerns and complaints and ask questions about the program. The meeting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at the pavilion at Mill Park off Northern Avenue.

“We want input, both positive and negative,” Massey said.

The latest Hot Spot occurred Friday afternoon when 21 officers, including a dog and a handler from the Maine State Prison and representatives of Probation and Parole; the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office; Maine Drug Enforcement Agency; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the city’s code enforcement office, fanned out across the downtown. Massey said officers gathered information from 76 people, talked to another 105 people and conducted 18 probation checks and 13 warrant and bail checks.

Four people were arrested for probation violations, including one person who was in possession of crack cocaine, Massey said. Two people were arrested on warrants, and Maine Drug Enforcement Agents arrested one person for whom they had been searching.

Police launched the program this spring by talking to businesses owners and pedestrians. Officers, who handed out fliers explaining the program, heard feedback from people anxious to rid their neighborhood of ongoing criminal activity.

Friday’s was the third hot spot run since that initial informational effort.

Modeled after a program Lewiston police have used for the past couple of years, Project Hot Spot was created to target specific areas known for having higher crime rates.

“We want people to tell us how it went and how we’re doing,” Massey said. “We want to hear the concerns and what they’d like to see in the future.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

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