SUMTER, S.C. — Sumter Police officers are going door-to-door in communities across the city to connect with locals and create bonds they hope will deter crime.

When two policemen arrived at Lewis Mitchell's South Sumter home he "thought something had happened." Moments later, he found out they wanted nothing more than conversation.

"It's nice that they come around in the neighborhood and check with people," Mitchell said. 

This comes as part of an annual department initiative called Operation Community Connections to hear area-concerns first hand. 

Since starting on Monday, June 24, officers have knocked on over 1,000 doors and made contact with over 400 community members, according to the department. 

"Instead of just riding by, we want people to have an out-of-car experience," Cpt. Robert Singleton said. "We want that face-to-face contact with a police officer so that the officer understands the concerns of the community."

The operation is also intended to curb a rise of illegal activity that tends to occur in the summer, like property crimes. 

"We tend to see a little spike in crime during the summer months, so this is just a good way to get into the community, hear their concerns, so we'll know how to approach that from an enforcement side," Singleton said. 

They plan to continue this initiative into the coming weeks.