RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Raleigh Police Department is taking new steps to keep greenways and parks safe this summer with a new unit specifically dedicated to the city’s popular trails and recreation areas.

Police officials said Saturday at a special news conference at Shelly Lake that they have assigned officers to the newly created Parks and Greenways Patrol Unit.

Raleigh Police Chief Estelle Patterson says it’s important for neighbors and families visiting greenways and parks to feel safe and secure.

“While the unit’s presence will deter and help prevent crime our personnel here are also responsible for interacting with the public so that we can continue to build those strong and sustainable relationships throughout our communities,” Patterson said Saturday.

The unit includes a sergeant and a horse-mounted unit who will work with volunteers to help educate the public on steps they should take to avoid being targeted for theft, vehicle break-ins and other crimes.