BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi Police Department is using a new approach to patrolling the streets downtown and it's all designed to keep you safe.
Biloxi Police are now using bikes. Chief John Miller hopes having the extra presence right on the street will make people think twice before committing a crime.
"Someone that's doing something they shouldn't be doing, a bad guy sees an officer he usually moves on," said Miller. "Even if he hasn't had any contact, just the presence usually deters crime."
Officers in Biloxi have used bikes in the past to help with festivals and events. Bike patrols are now used everyday in high pedestrian traffic areas and it's now just for crime prevention.
"It makes it easy for pedestrians to just stop an officer and ask him questions," said Miller. "If they're lost or they want to know something, cops know the best places to eat, these are all things that pedestrians and visitors to the city want to know."
With summer approaching, Miller said it was the right time to roll out the bikes, which he thinks in some cases can be more effective at stopping a criminal than an officer in a car.
"A bicycle officer can be up on them quicker," said Miller. "He can actually maybe even witness a crime because he's not in the unit, they're not looking for that and there he is."
Right now Biloxi has 12 trained bicycle officers with the possibility of more to come if Miller sees crime impacted in a positive way.
"If we see that we're making an impact then we'll move more into it," said Miller.
The bike patrols will be used primarily in downtown Biloxi from White Avenue to the Point. Chief Miller said he wants to the keep the officers on bikes fairly close to the police station in case of emergency.