Fort Smith and Van Buren police officials try to keep in touch about suspects possibly traveling back and forth between the two cities.
Van Buren Police Chief Jamie Hammond said suspects frequently travel either from Fort Smith to Van Buren or from Van Buren to Fort Smith after committing a crime. The cities are the largest population centers in their respective counties and are separated only by the Arkansas River.
"Unfortunately, when it comes to people committing crimes, there are really no boundaries," Hammond said. "The bridges leading to and from Fort Smith and Van Buren are really no exception."
Hammond said much of the intercity crime he sees between Van Buren and Fort Smith is theft-related. He said people will often steal things, move into the other city and then sell the items there.
This kind of theft, Hammond said, is driven by drug abuse. Three of the four felony arrests out of Van Buren in Fort Smith reported by the Times Record since the beginning of May have been drug-related.
"If you're addicted to drugs, a lot of times, you're not not just hurting yourself. Usually, you're hurting other people by stealing and committing other crimes to support your habit," Hammond said.
The other felony arrest of a Van Buren person in Fort Smith was on a fugitive from justice warrant. Multiple others from Van Buren have filed reports with the Fort Smith Police Department since May, including a Van Buren man who said he was jumped in the 800 block of South 20th Street in Fort Smith.
Hammond, the former captain of the narcotics division of the Fort Smith Police Department, said he doesn't usually see suspects who were repeatedly arrested in Fort Smith when he worked there arrested or sought in Van Buren.
"Sometimes they live here, sometimes they don't," he said. "Sometimes one of our officers just recognizes him or her. That's real handy. Many crimes are solved like that."
Hammond added that social media, email and other modern technology "expand boundaries" when it comes to catching criminals. He said this is especially useful when it comes to communication between the two cities.
"Many times, we'll get an email from (the Fort Smith Police Department) that says, 'Hey, this person did this in Fort Smith. Pass this around and see if you know him or her," he said.
On May 24, Van Buren police arrested Russell James Mosley, 31, and Victor Bottorff, 27, on suspicion of aggravated residential burglary, kidnapping and two counts of first-degree battery. Their charges stemmed from a home invasion robbery in Fort Smith 10 days prior to their arrest.
Fort Smith police detectives used bank records to find where Mosley and Bottorff had used the credit cards of one of the people who was burglarized. Fort Smith police then assisted Van Buren police in tracking down the two men, according to a news release from the Fort Smith Police Department.
"Sometimes, people may think they can commit crimes in one jurisdiction and then go to another jurisdiction and not get caught. That's clearly not the case, because we have a good relationship between our agencies," Hammond said. "We communicate."