Thursday, September 22, 2011

Berkley To Hire Student Intern For Crime Analysis

Last week I wrote about how crime analysis could even make a small college town police force more effective. In this story from The Daily Californian we see how Berkley, California Police and the University of California Police Department are going to benefit by hiring a UC Berkley student intern to help with crime analysis for their departments.

The Berkeley City Council is expected to accept a $36,000 grant from the Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund, allowing BPD and UCPD to hire at least one paid student intern and purchase equipment for the two-year program, according to UCPD Lt. Adan Tejada.

The program will bring both departments’ data together to assess crime patterns in the areas where they share jurisdiction. The intern, who will work a maximum of 20 hours a week and earn a majority of the $36,000 grant over two years, will focus on tracking trends for “nuanced” crimes in the area, Tejada said.

“Things like laptop and bike thefts and some large-value crimes, we don’t get to explore some of those nuances without dedicated staff on it,” he said. “We don’t get a chance to do some of that nitty-gritty analysis without someone trained to do it and with the time to analyze it.”

The intern will also geocode certain locations on campus to more specifically identify where crimes occur. With specific codes, the departments will be able to track certain high-crime locations to the exact hall or area on campus.

This is really an innovative idea that I believe will benefit both Berkley PD and UCPD. For many smaller agencies, there just isn't the funding to provide for their own full time crime analysis unit. However, just because your jurisdiction is small doesn't mean there is a benefit to a crime analyst for your agency. A cost sharing arrangement such as this one will pay dividends for both agencies.

Lots of the ground work for inter-agency cooperative efforts has been done by joint agency crime task forces. These arrangements have shown agencies how they can pool their resources to combat crime problems. Using similar arrangements to pool resources and provide analytical services to smaller agencies can just as easily benefit the contributing agencies.

If your agency has participated in such an arrangement, then you are probably familiar with how to craft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that spells out how separate agencies can pool their resources and work cooperatively. What's to stop you from using such an arrangement to share a crime analyst or create a multi-jurisdictional crime analysis unit?

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