LEWISTON — Police officers will check in with downtown residents on Tuesday, Aug. 16, to make sure the Project Hot Spot program is still on target.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. at Longley Elementary School, 145 Birch St.

“It’s a talking session, where we try to work out ways to combat the crime and take care of the problems people see,” said Police Lt. Adam Higgins. “Sometimes it’s not always a crime issue. Sometimes it’s a problem with blight. It could be graffiti or dogs pooping on their lawns. But everybody has a different issue and we try to work that all out.”

It will feature a panel of Lewiston police officers and representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Androscoggin County District Attorney’s Office, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and others.

Lewiston started Project Hot Spot in 2012. The program is a series of federal grant-supported police sweeps downtown throughout the summer designed to curb violent crime, drugs and other problems. It combined representatives from several different police agencies.

Police have continued the program each summer since then, and Higgins said it seems to have helped.

“The people that want us down there love to see us,” Higgins said. “There are a few people that don’t like to see us coming, and they disappear immediately. But that’s why we’re doing it.”

The police try to host the check-in meetings at least once per summer.

“If we are out just doing what we think are the problems, it may not be what the citizens think is the problem,” Higgins said. “That’s why we get them involved from the get-go. We ask about their concerns and then we can come back with a formula to fix it.”

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