The Bexar County Sheriff's Office has activated a non traditional unit called Sheriff's Habitual Offenders Team, or SHOT, which focuses on going after the small number of offenders who are responsible for a large percentage of the county's property crimes, Newsradio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board reports.
Unlike other units, SHOT detectives don't respond to calls for service, and they don't receive a regular case load.
Lt. Darrell Sanders says they are assigned to go out and look for crime, and then look for the bad guys who are committing the crimes.
"We go after the organization at every level, from the guy on the street who steals it, to the fence, to the buyer, to any middleman in between," he said.
Surveys show that while violent crimes like murder get the most attention, it is property crimes like home and car burglaries that residents fear the most.
Thanks to the SHOT unit, the number of burglaries in Bexar County was down 18% last year.
"This is an experiment that is working," Sanders said. "We have found a solution."
The way SHOT works is also non traditional. Detectives produce a list of top offenders to target, work as a unit to target criminal organizations, identify specific areas criminals frequently target, and use 'covert methods' to infiltrate and disband criminal organizations.
Sanders says they also utilize a crime analyst to examine trends and predict 'hot spots.'
He says the goal of SHOT is to make the cost of committing burglary and other property crimes too high for criminals to bear.
"We go after habitual offenders," Sanders said. "They're already losers."