The Washington news outlet KHQ.com had a piece last week on an effort by Spokane Police to target repeat offenders. The story mentioned a burglary ring where the offenders had multiple felony and misdemeanor convictions yet were still out committing new crimes.
Repeat offenders, or 'career criminals' as they're sometimes called are a big problem in Spokane. Police say a few people commit the majority of the crimes here, and that's why they formed the 'Repeat Offender' program.
Under the program, a person must have at least 3 felony convictions - although crime analysts say most repeat offenders have 7-10 or more. The other criteria is recent activity, including contact with officers or witnesses linking them to recent crimes.
Every month, the targeted crime unit, detectives and prosecutors meet to try and get higher bonds and longer sentences for the people they see over and over again - including the burglary ring suspects.
We've all heard of the 80/20 rule. In law enforcement it usually goes something like "80% of your crime is committed by 20% of your offenders". While the numbers aren't always exactly 80/20, the idea that a minority of criminals are responsible for a majority of the crime does seem to hold true.
I've written about the 80/20 rule before. I think it's worth keeping this in mind because if you can focus your limited law enforcement resources on this minority of offenders, you'll likely have a much greater crime reduction than you would otherwise.
What is your agency doing to target repeat offenders in your community?