Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

2007 POP Conference Papers

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Goldstein Award Finalist!

Anaheim (CA) Police Department

Anaheim’s Problematic Nightclub: When Jack Met Sara PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • David Vangsness, Anaheim (CA) Police Department
  • Detective Dave Wiggins, Anaheim (CA) Police Department

Do you have a nightclub in your town that seems to defy all of your problem-solving efforts? Are you stuck in a never ending loop of response and assessment but no resolution? The Anaheim Police Department offers a case study in the closure of a nightclub that for more than 25 years had been a resource drain for the entire community.

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Auto Theft: A Tale of Two Cities ZIP

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Karin Schmerler, Supervising Analyst, Chula Vista (CA) Police Dept.
  • Det. Staff Sergeant Bart Leach, Regina Police Service
  • Rick Bereti, Regional Director, Young Offender Programs

Regina had the reputation as Canada’s auto theft capital and a number of the drivers of the stolen vehicles had adopted dangerous driving behaviors, risking their own and others’ lives, and even attempting to injure responding police officers. The Regina Police Service coordinated an initiative involving prosecution and corrections agencies, the automobile insurance industry, the school divisions, the media, and members of the public. The adopted strategy resulted in a reduction in stolen auto of over 25 percent. In Chula Vista (CA), a city with one of the highest auto theft rates in the U.S., the Police Department focuses on high-risk parking lots. In the example they will share in this workshop, they examined auto theft in one target area, identifying three large commercial parking lots experiencing repeat theft. They calculated the auto theft rate per parking spot, and working with lot managers, developed a strategy to reduce auto theft by protecting both the lots and the risky vehicles parked there.

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Loud Parties/Risky Drinking: Two Problems for the Price of One PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Chief Tom Casady, Lincoln (NE) Police Department

NU Directions is a project aimed at reducing high-risk drinking by college students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The project is one of several campus-community coalitions funded at universities nationwide by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ). The national project, managed for RWJ by the American Medical Association, is entitled A Matter of Degree. The Lincoln Police Department plays a key role in the project. Lincoln Police Chief Tom Casady co-chairs the coalition with a University Vice Chancellor. The approach is part of an effort to change, redefine and codify community standards. The Police Department is deeply involved in the effort and one of its roles is to help reduce the number and impact of off-campus drinking parties. The Lincoln Police Department participated in the analysis of the problems of risky drinking and loud parties and is now also part of the solution. Deborah Weisel, Assistant Research Professor, North Carolina State University, facilitates this session.

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A Hot Street and Its Corners: Cincinnati Citizens and Police Take on a Problem Area ZIP

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Katrina Neal, Cincinnati Police Dept.
  • Dave Henry, Cincinnati Citizens on Patrol

Fergus Street in Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood had been the site of drug dealing, loitering, and disorderly/unsupervised youth for a number of years. Citizens, the police, and the Community Police Partnering Center formed a problem-oriented policing team to reduce the problem. Community members developed and administered a survey, finding that 59 percent of area residents stated they were considering moving and 82 percent would not buy property on Fergus Street. Through a collaborative effort using a variety of strategies, the group took on the corner liquor store where most of the activity was taking place, as well as other problem properties and activities. The results included a significant reduction in loitering, drug dealing, and even littering and improved non-criminal uses of nearby public and private properties.

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The Art and Science of Policing the Main Street Beat: Managing Uses of Public Space

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Captain Mary Schauf, Madison (WI) Police Department
  • Nicole DeMotto, Problem Analyst, Madison (WI) Police Department

Many cities and towns have a main or central street that presents particular challenges for the police. Oftentimes, along this one street you see police trying to wade through an array of behavior problems, such as panhandling, loud musicians or drinkers, erratic behavior from mentally ill individuals, the homeless sleeping, theft from businesses, risky drinking, and loitering. Some of these behaviors bring with them legal freedoms and rights that the police must consider, including free speech and freedom of assembly. At the same time, there may be issues of community tolerance and intolerance for some of the behaviors. Navigating these difficulties is more complex than many communities assume. In this workshop, Madison police officers and their crime analyst will talk about policing State Street, and they will be seeking input from the audience about this type of challenge.

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Goldstein Award Finalist!

Lancashire Constabulary (UK)

Lancashire’s Violent Nightclub: Playing to a Different Tune PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Sergeant Richard Hurt, Lancashire Constabulary (UK)
  • Detective Chief Inspector Tim Leeson, Lancashire Constabulary (UK)
  • Mark Marshall, Blackpool Council, Lancashire (UK)

Lancashire police identified the Walkabout Bar as the most dangerous and violent licensed premise in Blackpool, England’s largest vacation destination. The bar had extraordinarily high rates of crime, violence, disorder and anti-social behaviour. The bar accounted for over 1.2 percent of all violent crime in the City. Lancashire police ultimately got the Bar’s management team to adopt a new approach resulting in substantial reductions in all crime categories, even though the national chain that owned the bar was resistant. Lancashire police have adopted the approach taken against this bar as an agency best practice, standardizing its approach for tackling problematic licensed premises.

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Graffiti: Art It’s Not PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Detective Valerie Spicer, Vancouver Police Service (Canada)

In the early 1970s, a new form of graffiti emerged in New York City. It grew into a structured youth subculture. By the mid 1980s, it surfaced in urban centers throughout the world, representing approximately 70 to 90 percent of the graffiti problem. This new phenomenon, referred to as Hip Hop graffiti, has been documented in a variety of forms. Understanding the range in motivation within the graffiti subculture helps to structure the responses of service providers in the criminal justice system and municipal governments. Vancouver police worked in partnership, developing a comprehensive graffiti management strategy, achieving an 80 percent reduction of graffiti from 2002 to 2005. Vancouver continues to achieve good results with its strategy. The workshop will focus on aspects of the graffiti subculture, developing comprehensive responses, and maintaining results over a longer period of time.

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Metal Theft: Cooling a Hot Commodity PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Sergeant Bob Thompson, Puyallup (WA) Police Department
  • Captain Andrew Leonard, Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Police Department
  • Chief Randy Gaber, Madison (WI) Police Department

After experiencing a dramatic increase in metal theft, Puyallup (WA) Police undertook an investigation, identifying some of the most active metal thieves. They also met with area recyclers, found unsound practices at the scrap/recycling yards, established an area wide group, developed a preventive approach, including seeking new legislation. Across the country, a different police department focused on a discrete part of the metal theft problem. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police identified theft of metal beer kegs as a rising problem. A review of reported incidents showed over $60,000 worth of beer kegs had been stolen in approximately 6 months. After further analysis, officers developed prevention strategies for the primary keg theft locations and then addressed the problem of the resale of these kegs at scrap metal yards. As a result, the problem has been greatly reduced.

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Saving Lives by Rethinking Roads PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Dale Retzlaff, Washington State Patrol
  • Trooper Matt Calderone, Washington State Patrol
  • Assistant Chief Brian Ursino, Washington State Patrol

After experiencing a dramatic increase in metal theft, Puyallup (WA) Police undertook an investigation, identifying some of the most active metal thieves. They also met with area recyclers, found unsound practices at the scrap/recycling yards, established an area wide group, developed a preventive approach, including seeking new legislation. Across the country, a different police department focused on a discrete part of the metal theft problem. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police identified theft of metal beer kegs as a rising problem. A review of reported incidents showed over $60,000 worth of beer kegs had been stolen in approximately 6 months. After further analysis, officers developed prevention strategies for the primary keg theft locations and then addressed the problem of the resale of these kegs at scrap metal yards. As a result, the problem has been greatly reduced.

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Day Laborer Sites: Working Out the Problems PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Diane Tillery, Montgomery County (MD) Police Department
  • Chief John King, Gaithersburg (MD) Police Department
  • Chief John Welter, Anaheim (CA) Police Department

In 1995, in one part of Montgomery County, a day laborer center was opened in response to day laborers gathering. Recently, with changing mobility patterns, more Latino families moved to the Gaithersburg/Germantown, another part of Montgomery County that offers more affordable housing and nearness to ethnic markets and stores. Two different parts of Montgomery County have faced issues related to day laborers, each responding in different ways to it.

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Goldstein Award Finalist!

Charlotte Mecklenburg (NC) Police Dept.

Burglary of Storage Facilities: Locking Out Thieves PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Daniel Cunius, Charlotte Mecklenburg (NC) Police Dept.
  • Sergeant James Wilson, Charlotte Mecklenburg (NC) Police Dept.
  • Eric Rost, Charlotte Mecklenburg (NC) Police Dept.
  • Gisela Bichler, Assistant Professor, California State University at San Bernardino

In 2005, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Burglary unit examined the causes of a 28 percent increase in commercial burglaries and looked at locations that had multiple burglaries or types of businesses that had a high incidence of offenses. They found that mini-storage warehouses accounted for approximately 7 percent of the total reported commercial burglaries and that in many of these cases multiple storage units in the same warehouse were hit during the burglary. Detectives also found that many mini-storage facilities were not having problems. Detectives meticulously determined what conditions caused some facilities to have burglaries and why others didn’t and then tested their findings, which resulted in significant reductions in burglaries.

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Structuring Responses to Problem Properties: A City Attorney’s Office Perspective PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Carolyn Ortler, Oakland City Attorney’s Office
  • John Eck, Professor, University of Cincinnati

Do you have a house, motel, apartment complex or other building in your city that is a chronic crime location? Hear how city attorneys can help you in the fight against chronic problem properties. Learn how to interest your city attorney in problem properties, how to make cases, successes (and failures) of evidence collection, and case strategy in criminal nuisance cases. Also hear about a few of Oakland’s best practices in fighting problem properties, and its use of the innovative Neighborhood Law Corps, a program which recruits rookie attorneys to prosecute problem properties and its partnering with Oakland Police Department’s problem solving officers to improve the quality of life in Oakland's neighborhoods.

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Disorderly Youth in Public Places: Fair and Effective Policing PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Lt. Detective Mark Gillespie, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
  • Steve Burton, Deputy Director, Transport Policing and Enforcement Transport for London (UK)

Many cities and towns have problems of youth congregating and sometimes engaging in disorderly behavior. This behavior poses challenges for the police and sometimes creates fear in the community. Over 50,000 youth use the Massachusetts Bay public transit system each day during the school year. The Transit Police had been using a zero tolerance approach to disorderly youth, examined the consequences of that approach, and decided to adopt a different approach to reduce harms from groups congregating and engaging in disorderly behavior. The results were fewer arrests of youth, closer connections between youth and the other transit riders, and the sharing of responsibility for youth riders with other organizations who are more capable of working with youth to make them aware of the effect of their behavior on others. Success with this project led the Transit Police to work on a truancy reduction project, which will also be discussed in this session.

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Tilley Award Finalist!

Lancashire Constabulary (UK)

Lancashire Constabulary (UK) Turning a Neighborhood Around: 'Mopping Up Dodge' PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Dave Johnson, Comm. Beat Manager, Lancashire Constabulary (UK)
  • Gary Salisbury, Comm. Beat Manager, Lancashire Constabulary (UK)
  • Sue Roach, Community Gateway Association
  • Chief Superintendent Irene Curtis, Lancashire Constabulary

Taking on a problem neighborhood? Here how officers in Lancashire turned one around, an area of mostly government-subsidized housing rife with vandalism, gang activity, drug dealing, and anti-social behavior through precise analysis of specific offenders, specific hot spots, and crime-prone places. Community input was a significant part of this project. Police asked community members to 'map' the most problematic places. Responses included a focus on repeat offenders, redesign of crime places, community engagement, and restorative justice. This project is a finalist for England’s 2007 Tilley Award for Problem-Oriented Policing.

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Helping the Homeless Help Themselves PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Officer Kim Poirier, Myrtle Beach (SC) Police Department
  • Lieutenant Deborah McCorkle, Myrtle Beach (SC) Police Department
  • Ed Brodt, Associate Director, Kentucky Regional Community Policing Institute

In 2003, the City of Myrtle Beach conducted a survey of the downtown area. It revealed increasing concern about the growing population of homeless individuals and suspicion about their involvement in criminal activity and nuisance-related incidents. In response, the Myrtle Beach Police Department tasked community team officers to specific areas to address community concerns and develop ways to assist the homeless population. After evaluations and field interviews with the homeless, community team officers developed the Help Us Help You program, a collaboration with local businesses, associations and government agencies geared towards more effectively changing homelessness in the Myrtle Beach community by providing the means to assist individuals and reduce homelessness.

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Goldstein Award Winner!

Lancashire Constabulary (UK)

Intervention with Problem Families: You Think You’ve Got Problems? PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Vicky Clark, Anti-Social Behavior Coordinator
  • Cheryl Baxter, NCH Project Manager
  • Chief Inspector Alice Knowles, Lancashire Constabulary
  • Colin Dassow, Lancashire Constabulary

Every community has problem families. The question is, how best to deal with them? This project tried to find a different way, particularly since prior efforts that involved enforcement actions alone simply displaced the family elsewhere rather than dealing with the exact issues within each family. This project involved greater coordination of services, support plans for each family, clarity about the consequences coupled with heightened monitoring, and assessment of impact, resulting in turnarounds for more families than had been achieved previously.

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Turning around a Youth Heroin Problem: Stopping a Bad Trip PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Chief Gregory Rushin, Plano (TX) Police Department
  • Sergeant A.D. Paul, Plano (TX) Police Department
  • Brandon Kooi, Assistant Professor, Aurora University

Plano (TX) Police historically treated drug overdose deaths as accidental deaths. After several teens died from heroin overdoses, the Department took a problem-solving approach to the problem. When they looked at hospital records, they discovered that there had been nearly 70 recent non-fatal heroin overdoses in Plano. In other words, the problem was much larger than the Police Department’s own data revealed. The narcotics unit interviewed prior overdose victims discovering some very surprising information. This led the narcotics unit and others in the Department to develop a completely new response to the problem.

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Goldstein Award Finalist!

Hampshire Constabulary (UK)

Shoplifting: Stop Thief! PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Police Constable Stephen Hawkins, Hampshire Constabulary (UK)
  • Sergeant Simon Roberts, Hampshire Constabulary (UK)
  • Gareth Lewis, Crime Loss Prevention Manager, Southern Co-operative Group

In one area of Hampshire, more than 50 percent of all crime calls related to shoplifting. To make matters worse, further investigation revealed that shoplifting was severely underreported in the area. This led to further examination of the underreporting, which revealed a lack of confidence in police in following up on the crime. During this project, additional questions were explored: How should stores report shoplifting? What information should be provided that could increase the likelihood of an improved response to the problem? Is there a better way for a store to help determine if an officer should be dispatched to the call? How should police and stores increase their intelligence around methods of shoplifting and the people involved? What might be an improved process overall for handling these very common crime complaints? This project sought to answer all of these questions and provide a blueprint for improving both the response to shoplifting and the identification of offenders.

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Burglaries in Student Residence Halls: Breaking Off Opportunity PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Officer Eli Cohen, Georgia State University
  • Sue Riseling, University of Wisconsin Madison Police Dept.

Burglaries of college residence halls are a common problem across the United States. Georgia State University (GSU) was no exception. At just one of GSU’s residence hall apartment complexes, there were 44 burglaries in one year. Taking a problem-oriented policing approach, an officer analyzed the problem carefully and developed responses to reduce the problem that included target hardening and student behavior modifications. In addition, the officer developed an innovative way to limit access of outsiders into the complex. In the year following implementation of the project, burglaries dropped by 39 percent and the value of the property stolen dropped by 49 percent. The University decided to use the officer’s approach in designing a new residence hall complex on the campus.

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Domestic Violence: What’s Love Got to Do With It? ZIP

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Chief Inspector Milton Kerr, Northern Ireland Police Service
  • Superintendent David Hanna, Northern Ireland Police Service
  • Police Constable Sharon Cooney, Cleveland Police Service (UK)
  • Sergeant Katherine Prudom, Cleveland Police Service, (UK)

Presenters from two police agencies will talk about how they have improved their response to domestic violence. In devising their approach, the Police Service of Northern Ireland first looked to see what the research said about ways to reduce domestic violence to help inform them while the Cleveland Police focused on improving dispatcher response to victims calling about domestic abuse. Also, in this session, attendees will hear about the new domestic violence POP guide and how it can help improve your department’s effectiveness in reducing domestic violence.

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Fear of Crime in Public Places: Getting Reassurance Right PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Steve Burton - Deputy Director, Transport Policing and Enforcement, Transport for London (UK)
  • Mandy McGregor – Policy Manager (Transport Policing), Transport for London (UK)
  • Gary Cordner, Professor, Eastern Kentucky University

Fear of crime is an important driver of public behavior and it impacts the use of public spaces. It also contributes to how the public views the success of policing and crime reduction strategies and ultimately the viability of public space. Having town centers, public transit systems, parks and other public spaces that are perceived to be safe and secure is vital for the image of urban areas, economic success, and the quality of life for communities. This session is an interactive workshop that examines the idea of fear of crime and how this can be measured and assessed by policing agencies. It will cover how effective strategies for dealing with fear of crime can be developed through a problem solving approach and how this can then be effectively implemented on the ground.

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Sexual Exploitation of Teens: What They Didn’t Know Hurt Them PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Detective Sergeant Neil Fowler, Lancashire Constabulary (UK)
  • Andy Shackleton, Childcare Manager, Blackpool (UK)
  • Lieutenant Andy Mills, San Diego (CA) Police Department

After the tragic disappearance and murder of a young girl, police discovered that in Britain’s largest seaside resort, some men were luring teens into sexual exploitation. After the initial investigation, Lancashire Constabulary used a problem-oriented approach to investigate the problem and try to prevent further tragedies. The investigation uncovered that certain types of places were repeat settings for sexual exploitation and there were patterns to the people offending in these places. Also, certain victim vulnerabilities led the teens to these places and made them more susceptible to this predatory behavior. Working with other concerned entities, police designed a multidimensional response, which included engaging victims, targeting offenders, and making these locations safer.

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COMPSTAT and POP: Complement or Conflict PDF

Presenters / Facilitators:

  • Larry Hoover, Professor, Sam Houston State University
  • Michael Scott, Director, Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

This session will explore the key elements of problem-oriented policing and Compstat and consider whether the two concepts are compatible or in conflict with one another, either in theory or in practice. Many police agencies report that they endorse and put into practice both concepts.

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