Modern policing techniques and crime analysts aren't just for big city police departments. Mid size and suburban police agencies are using these techniques to sharpen their focus and improve their crime fighting abilities. There was a story last week over at the Columbia Daily Tribune that looks at both Boone County and Columbia, MO cops and their efforts at sharpening their crime fighting techniques.
Columbia police under Chief Ken Burton also have instituted a problem-oriented policing philosophy at his department in addition to a geographic policing strategy. Under geographic policing, sergeants are responsible for a small section of the city patrolled by officers that report to them. Those officers and sergeants are responsible for solving problems in their designated areas in an effort to make policing customer friendly, efficient and proactive.
Both strategies are resulting in better police work, Nelson said, and the addition of crime analyst Jerry East to the staff has allowed the department’s strategies to become more data-driven.
Data allow officers to see where crimes are taking place over time. Beat officers can be shifted for trending crimes, such as burglaries, and consistent analysis of incoming data allows Nelson to react to problems more quickly.
Regardless of the size of your agency, intelligence led policing, problem oriented policing or other data driven techniques can help your agency become more efficient at reducing crime in your community. Back in May I posted about a piece over at the Wall Street Journal where criminologist James Q. Wilson wrote that he believed that use of techniques such as this partly explain the drop in crime in the US over the past couple of years.
What is your agency doing to sharpen their focus? Have you found that certain techniques work better with agencies of a certain size?