Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Solving Problems Requires A Multi-Disciplinary Approach

There's a story over the the Chico Enterprise Reporter on Chico, CA Police and their strategy to solve community problems. This strategy uses a number of city departments to tackle issues in an area once known as "Felony Flats".

Chico officials began the Coordinated Regional Problem Solving Team, commonly called CORE PROS, to bring together city departments to resolve quality-of-life issues, said Police Chief Mike Maloney.

The foundation of that team is the Target unit, a federal grant-funded branch of Chico police dedicated to solving problems that routinely drain police resources. "While we have been slow to speak on the CORE PROS project, conceptually we're already doing it," he said.

Target's four sworn officers share an office with the city's three code enforcement officers, and they all function as a team under the supervision of Sgt. David Britt.

Code enforcement was incorporated into police jurisdiction near the same time Target began operations in February 2010.

"From my perspective, they are now an essential part of the Police Department," Maloney said.

There are a number of problems that lend themselves to using a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving. Often times urban blight and crime go hand in hand. Using code enforcement to work on the issues of blight and at the same time police to tackle the crime that often goes with it can be an effective tool to solve these problems.

Sometimes it's a chicken versus egg question as to which came first, the blight or the crime. But regardless of which came first, unchecked urban blight can become a crime generator as a neighborhood declines. It's rare to see a real crime generator not also have blight issues.

Yesterday I was talking with an analyst from another jurisdiction about a motel that had become a crime generator in the neighborhood where it was located. This other analyst pointed out a number of building code deficiencies at this location. In addition to law enforcement, it's going to also take code enforcement and other regulatory bodies to solve this problem.

Don't be afraid to call in help from these other regulatory agencies to help solve these problems. What crime problems face your community that need a multi-disciplinary approach?

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