LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- After three shootings in Lewiston this May, police started thinking outside the box to address the increase in violent crime, and Project Hot Spot was born.
It's a collaboration with county, state, and federal agencies to bring unannounced, increased enforcement details to the downtown Lewiston area.
Police say the "hot spot" for crime in Lewiston is between River and Webster Streets and East Ave. to College Street, an area near the police station that includes Kennedy Park.
Since the project started, Lewiston has not had a single shooting.
"We're pleased...but there's not going to be a mission accomplished moment," said Lewiston Police Chief Michael Bussiere.
He said the department will continue Project Hot Spot indefinitely.
Each sting is a little different. Sometimes Lewiston Police work with Maine Drug Enforcement Agents to focus on suspected drug trafficking.
Other times, probation officers perform checks on suspected probation violators.
Other nights, police have found firearms in common areas of apartment buildings, and arrested suspected prostitutes.
The increased police presence has put some Lewiston residents at ease.
"It's great to see that they're here, because then those who do cause the issues will know that they're here," said Courtney Pierce, who has lived within the hot spot area for three years.
The Lewiston Police Chief thinks the increased visibility is part of the solution.
"You're letting the drug dealers know you're out there, you're letting the criminals know you're out there," said Chief Bussiere. "But you're also letting the public know that we're not going to sit there and tolerate it."