Monday, September 26, 2011

They Just Might Have An Idea Why Crime's Down In NYC

On Friday I posted a piece titled Crime's Down But Who Knows Why? about the lack of consensus in reasons for the recent drop in crime noted after the FBI released the full 2010 Uniform Crime Reports. After I wrote that post, there was an interesting piece over at The Crime Report that covers some explanations for the dramatic drop in crime in New York City. In that piece, they had this explanation:
Zimring identified two factors which he believed made the most difference in New York crime rates. 
One was NYPD’s strategy of concentrating huge numbers of cops in high-crime neighborhoods, known as “hot spots.” The other was the successful effort by authorities to close down public (street-corner) drug markets in the city.
... Another factor Zimring looked at was the potential impact of the national “war on drugs.”  
Drug-related homicides dropped steeply in New York. Nevertheless, the number of deaths from drug overdoses remained stable―suggesting that while police strategies had little impact on actual drug use, their concentration on violence associated with drugs produced significant results.  
The NYPD waged a “war on drug violence (rather than) a war on drugs,” said Zimring. “This aspect of New York City policing has received zero attention.”
Both of these ideas had been speculated on in the past as the reason that crime has been on the decline nationwide.

A few days ago I had a conversation with my Chief where we were discussing different policing strategies such as CompStat, problem oriented policing, DDACTS, hot spot policing and the like. Regardless of what you call them, or how you characterize the differences in these strategies, they all have at their basis using the data your agency collects about crime to focus your operations in a data driven approach. For New York City, they analyzed their collected crime data to determine crime hot spots and then focused resources on those hot spots.

At the heart of this data driven approach is a robust crime analysis function. One that is capable of mining vast quantities of data, conducting a thorough analysis and then communicating the results of that analysis in a legible and actionable manner to the agency decision makers. It is my belief that more and more agencies using crime analysts in a data driven approach to policing is responsible for the downturn in crime here in the U.S.

What are you doing at your agency to ensure that the data is driving your crime reduction efforts?

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