Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Goldstein Awards 1994

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Winner! Creston Apartment Project

Kansas City Police Department, Kansas City, MO US – 5 Pages

In recent years, the Creston Apartments has experienced a dramatic increase in violent crime. Complaints and calls for service from residents increased, while government officials pressured the police to respond to a growing problem. The area was draining police resources. Police reports and computer printouts were examined revealing that the majority of the calls were related to drug sells in and around the apartments. The police cultivated about the drug trade from the community's residents. Assistance from other government agencies enabled the police to provide 24-hour security at the apartments, which were to be torn down because they were structurally unsound. Many of the drug dealers have been arrested or evicted from the apartments. Calls for police service decreased dramatically.

Winner! Electric Avenue

Calgary Police Service, Calgary, AB CA – 5 Pages

Twenty-four bars bordered an inner-city residential community. Over time, the area became a single-use bar destination in which businesses were forced to move due to the noise, crime, and filth. The area developed a reputation as "the place to go for a good time." Residents complained of noise, garbage, and property damage. An analysis of crime trends revealed that street robberies, auto thefts, theft and damage to vehicles and drunken disturbances were the primary crime problems. Regulatory, architectural, and operation changes were made to solve the underlying problems and reduce crime. A taskforce was formed to encourage communication and cooperation among businesses and the police. A community partnership was also formed to assist the police in identifying and rectifying problems. Violent, property crime, weapons complaints, complaints against police officers, and assaults on police officers decreased substantially.

Coon Creek Canoe Race

La Crosse Police Department, La Crosse, WI US – 4 Pages

La Crosse was the host to a canoe race, which attracted large crowds and college students from all over the country. In recent years, the crowds have grown larger and more unruly. The police analyzed the sequence of events leading up to the disturbances. At the tavern closing time, persons lawfully occupying downtown taverns would converge with persons on the sidewalks and overflow into the streets obstructing traffic requiring a police response. Vehicles were damaged, and individuals were injured. The large number of people contributed to a crowd mentality and feeling of anonymity. The police created a positive image of the event by using the local media, businesses, and public agencies. Police video cameras were employed to reduce the anonymity the large crowds provided in the past. The numbers of arrests were reduced from 183 in 1991 and 149 in 1992, to 14 total arrests in 1994. The public's perception of the police's ability to handle the event increased.

Family Violence Followup Teams

Edmonton Police Service, Edmonton, AB CA – 7 Pages

In many domestic violence cases, the Edmonton Police Service was responding to repeated complaints without affecting the problem. In the past, no formal mechanism for identifying repeat or complex cases existed. A coordinated community response was interagency were used to establish special measures to select, educate, and train personnel to respond to family violence. The project was successful. 97% of the victims who dealt with the teams reported that they had made positive changes in their lives; twice as many of the victims left their abusive relationships; 62% of the clients from original project were no longer in abusive relationships; 87% of the clients took positive steps to change their abusive situations.

Fortified Drug Houses: A Problem Solved

Edmonton Police Service, Edmonton, AB CA – 7 Pages

Residential houses were being fortified to facilitate drug trafficking. Drug addicts and prostitutes frequented the houses, which alarmed and outraged residents. Police stops of people leaving the suspect locations failed to turn up drugs as the customers were consuming their drugs in the houses. The police executed search warrants and discovered nearly all of the houses had fortified doors and windows. The suspects were able to destroy the evidence before the police entered the houses. Most of the drug houses were rentals in a state of disrepair. The police formed a Special Multi Agency Response Team (SMART). The efforts of SMART resulted in the closure of a small number of houses classified as unfit for human habitation and forced landlords to rectify deficiencies. The Downtown Drug Project Team executed warrants, seized drugs, and used innovative techniques to reduce the drug supply and cultivate users as witnesses against the dealers. The last drug house was closed in 1993. Residents of the neighborhoods have reported less drug activity.

Glitter Track Project

San Diego Police Department, San Diego, CA US – 8 Pages

A business and residential area was plagued with a prostitution market and complaints about the brazen behavior of the prostitutes. The police encouraged business owners and residents to use temporary restraining orders on known prostitutes, enabling the police to make arrests for loitering and soliciting. The restraining orders decreased prostitution, stimulated local business, and brought people back to the community.

KIDestrian: Child Pedestrian Safety

Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police, Hamilton-Wentworth, ON CA – 6 Pages

In 1990, there were 252 collisions involving children under the age of 16. Further analysis revealed that collisions involving children aged 6-8, showed over 80% involved a dart out phenomenon in which children would dart out into traffic from between parked cars. A German child's safety book was translated into English with the help of "experts" on traffic safety and children. Several public and private agencies provided resources to publish and distribute the book to children. Exercises also developed to teach children traffic safety. KIDestrians is presently being evaluating.

Marian Bear Park

San Diego Police Department, San Diego, CA US – 6 Pages

The Northern Division had received numerous complaints of lewd sexual activity in Marian Bear Natural Park. Due to its secluded bushes and restrooms, the park developed a reputation as a meeting place for lewd sexual encounters. Police officers used video cameras to eliminate the sense of anonymity, posted signs, and used undercover operations to discourage lewd sexual conduct. Lewd sexual conduct at the park was virtually eliminated.

Preventing Theft from Auto

Edmonton Police Service, Edmonton, AB CA – 2 Pages

Although major crimes such as robbery and automobile theft receive serious police attention, citizens are much more likely to have items stolen from their automobile. In 1994, from January 1 st to March 30 th , the Downtown Division received reports of 657 incidents. If a police officer filed a report, 657 times in three months at 15 minutes per report each time, 164 man hours were spent on a totally preventable crime. A police officer worked with mall security to provide information to parkers and place signs in two parkades joined by a shopping mall and a hotel to warn about thefts from automobiles and request that valuables are not left in vehicles. Since the beginning of the campaign, there have been no reported thefts from automobiles in the two parkades.

The Snake Pit

Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, Sacramento, CA US – 4 Pages

For several years, officers regularly responded to calls concerned intoxicated subjects, thefts, and fights at properties owned by an elderly blind woman. The tenants in her rental properties were stealing items from nearby businesses and selling them on her property. Two ex-cons moved into the main residence and were selling off the woman's belongings. When she objected, she was threatened, and a small outbuilding was burned down. The property constituted a health problem due to the trash and vermin. Officer Williams received assistance from other agencies. The elderly woman eventually was put in a rest home. The tenants were evicted or arrested and the buildings boarded up until a new owner razed them. Some 94,000 pounds of trash was removed from the property. The property was sold, and preparations are being made to raze the buildings.

Valley Forge/Riley Family Project

Austin Police Department, Austin, TX US – 5 Pages

A single residence generated a tremendous amount of calls for police service. Neighbors became frustrated as the frequency and gravity of problems at the residence continued to increase. Their complaints involved vandalism, terroristic threats, drug trafficking, and gang activity, and allegations of child pornography. Police reports, interviews with neighbors, and community meetings were held to clarify the nature and extent of the problems. Vice Unit Officers investigating the suspicious activity; search warrants were executed; evidence was examined; and suspects and victims were located and interviewed. A nuisance abatement was filed on the residence. The individuals, suspected of child molestation and pornography, were taken into custody. The property was cleaned up and rented to a seemingly nice, stable family. The nuisance was eliminated with the extraction of the Riley family.

Village Townhouse Project

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Charlotte, NC US – 5 Pages

A low-income apartment complex lacked positive role models for children. The children often became truant followed by involvement in criminal activity. Crack cocaine exacerbated the problems as drug related violence was common. Residents became fearful of the drug dealers, vandalism, and sounds of gunfire that characterized the complex. Officer Johnson gained the residents' trust by becoming involved with the community. Johnson establishing a tutoring program and an empowerment program for families in order to get the children and their parents involved in school. The children go to school receptive to learning and both their grades and behavior have improved. Their teachers reported less behavioral problems. Parents have became more involved in their children's educations and have even began to purse their own educations. Drug activity and most categories of crime have decreased at the apartments.