Friday, May 31, 2013

How A Commuting Population Could Affect Your Crime Rate

There was a piece over at The Atlantic Cities that brings up an interesting topic, that of "Commuter-adjusted populations". This refers to cities whose populations grow during the workday when people who live outside a city commute in to work inside the city. As an example in the story, they state that the population of Manhattan which is normally about 1.5 million people undergoes a significant transformation during the workday when its population increases drastically.

This latter number – 3,083,102, to be precise, according to American Community Survey data collected between 2006 and 2010 – is in some ways an even more important one than the population figure we typically affix to places. If Manhattan ever needs to evacuate by day during a disaster, the city has to figure out what to do with all 3 million of those people. The city's transportation planners are responsible for every one of them, whether they live in New York or not.

Via The Atlantic Cities

This week I have been working on looking at historical crime data at the agency where I work. I managed to compile 40 years of UCR Part 1 crime numbers for the sleepy little burg where I work. In order to put those numbers into context, I also dug up 40 years worth of population estimates in order to calculate accurate crime rates and put those Part 1 crime numbers into proper context. There's a big difference between a population of 35,000 and one of 134,000.

If you work in a city with a significant "commuter-adjusted population" it's probably worth keeping these major population fluctuations in mind when you are looking at your crime rates.

Does your agency see major cyclical population changes? If so, how do you take this into account when calculating crime rates or allocating police resources?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

To Stop Terrorism, Refuse To Be Terrorized

Security guru Bruce Schneier had a piece on his blog that quoted this interesting commentary:
At present rates, an American’s chance of being killed by a terrorist is about one in 3.5 million per year—compared, for example, to a yearly chance of dying in an automobile crash of one in 8,200. That could change, of course, if terrorists suddenly become vastly more capable of inflicting damage—as much commentary on terrorism has predicted over the past decade. But we’re not hearing much of that anymore.
Via The National Interest

Our fears aren't always based on reality.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A More Holistic Approach To Crime Fighting

The Indy Star had an interesting piece that looked at how Indianapolis Police are enlisting social service organizations to help reduce crime by tackling some of the root causes of crime. Indianapolis Public Safety Director Troy Riggs put it this way:
“Police cannot do by themselves all that needs to be done to address the causes for crime in our community,” Riggs said. “We cannot arrest our way out of the problem. We need true community partners. The factors are more nuanced and complex than any one police department is capable of handling.”
Via Indy Star

So what do you think? Does this approach have merit?