Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Goldstein Awards 1996

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Winner! 911 Abuse

St. Petersburg Police Department, St. Petersburg, FL US – 10 Pages

In the six-month period, there were thirty calls for service at one location; fourteen (46%) of which were either "911 Hang-ups" or "Playing on 911." The deliberate misuse of the 911 emergency telephone system could prevent its legitimate use and unnecessarily commit zone units to calls. The problem location was a bank of pay telephones installed at a convenience store. The use of the area by school-aged children seemed to be a factor influencing the problem. The telephone booths were hidden from the view of passing vehicular and pedestrian traffic by dense shrubbery. Moreover, the phones were purposefully installed away from the store to discourage loitering. The shrubbery was trimmed, and the lighting was improved. The calls for service at the bank of pay phones were monitored from November 20 (the date the improvements were made) to July 1, 1996, there have been no calls of "Playing on 911" and "911 hang-ups" have accounted for only 13% of total calls for service.

Winner! New Helvetia and River Oaks Project

Sacramento Police Department, Sacramento, CA US – 41 Pages

1996. Four years ago, two patrol officers were selected to work exclusively in what was then the most violent area of the city of Sacramento. The area consisted of 800-plus units of low-income housing owned and operated by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. A gang and narcotics problem created a neighborhood that effectively was a war zone. Community involvement, heavy enforcement, reaching at-risk children, and forming partnerships were used to affect change. During the first 40 days, officers made 70 arrests for major narcotics violations. By 1994, more than 500 arrests were made. The partnerships formed with housing management, the community, schools, local government, and other public and private agencies, have improved the quality of life in this inner-city neighborhood. By the end of 1995, robberies were down 73 percent: felony assaults were down 74 percent; and narcotic calls were down 94 percent. A survey indicated that the residents are much more satisfied with their neighborhood.

Winner! The El Dorado Park

Fresno Police Department, Fresno, CA US – 5 Pages

In a one-year period, Eldorado Park was responsible for 9% of the calls for service in the northeast area. The most serious problem was a juvenile gang. The gang intimidated the community's impoverished residents, who were hesitant to report crimes. The police cultivated relationships with neighborhood residents and encouraged them to report gang members and criminal activity. The police also established the El Dorado Housing Authority, a coalition of city officials, property owners, managers, business owners, and volunteers to exchange problems and suggest solutions. During the first year of the project, calls for service increased by 9%, while crime decreased by 26%. In the second year of the project, calls for service decreased by 31.5% with a 53% reduction in crime. The area is cleaner, safer, and more desirable to live in.

Winner! The Turner-Fenton Project

Peel Regional Police, ON CA – 10 Pages

The Turner-Felton Secondary School was experiencing problems with trespassers. While on school property, the trespassers would gather, loiter, and frequently engage in criminal activity. The school was developing a reputation as being unsafe. Constable McKay gathered information through interviews, crime statistics, and an examination of the school's floor and site plans. He discovered some design deficiencies that contributed to the school's disorder. CPTED principles were used to alter the school's design to improve the parking lot, flow of pedestrian traffic, and ensure security relying on the school's existing structure. In the three years following the changes, police occurrences at the school dropped substantially.

Center Court Project

Joliet Police Department, Joliet, IL US – 5 Pages

The Center Court Apartments were responsible for over 50% of the calls for police service in the area. The residents were concerned about the more serious incidents and the dilapidated condition of the properties. The City found over 100 violations and issued orders for the owner to fix the problems. The owner failed to take action and was ordered to close both buildings. The owner sold the properties, and the residents were temporarily relocated. New owners renovated the interior and exterior of the buildings, fenced and landscaped the property, established security procedures, and reopened the buildings.

Group Homes: A Multiagency Approach to a City Wide Problem

Fresno Police Department, Fresno, CA US – 7 Pages

In 1995, forty juvenile group homes were responsible for 1024 calls for police service. Five group homes were responsible for nearly 50% of the calls. A lack of communication between agencies and education about each agency's roles and reporting responsibilities were an impediment to handling problematic group homes. A Group Home Forum involving all civic agencies that take part in the regulation and control of the group home industry was formed to encourage the regular exchange of information relating to the status of group homes. Quarterly meetings with agencies are held to address problems and needs of the group home industry. Training and education were provided to the group home industry to better serve their clients. A review of the calls for service to group homes have steadily deceased since the inception of the program. The distribution of calls for service varies little between homes for number of calls generated. Based on the first quarter statistics a projected number of calls for service in 1996 are approximately 575, that is a dramatic drop in calls from the 1024 of 1995.

Last Drink Program

Peel Regional Police, ON CA – 5 Pages

When an arrest is made, it takes 4 to 5 hours to process an impaired driver and comprises the ability of police offers to respond to other types of calls. Out of 1019 persons arrested for impaired driving, it has been estimated that nearly 46% had been drinking at a licensed premise. The Peel Regional Police established a database of all licensed remises within the Region in which people had been drinking prior to their arrest for impaired driving. By analyzing this data, the police were able to identify the establishments, which continually posed a problem and take corrective measures. The Last Drink program was established to allow the police and the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario (LLBO) to use their resources in the most efficient manner. The information provided to the LLBO by police makes it possible for their inspectors to target specific premises and provides details of all incidents involving a subject establishment for use in any subsequent judicial hearing. In 1994, 19 impaired drivers arrested advised that they had been drinking at one establishment. Through warning letters and site inspections this figure was reduced by 50% in 1995.

Mission Lake Plaza

Lauderhill Police Department, Lauderhill, FL US – 10 Pages

Mission Lake Plaza, a shopping complex, was generating a disproportionate amount of calls for police service including disturbances, narcotics, gang activity, loitering, and public drinking. The plaza was covered with litter, and poor lighting contributed to an open-air drug market. The drug activity spilled out into an adjacent park, and school children were solicited to purchase and sell drugs. The plaza was attractive to dealers because of the high level of traffic, availability of alcohol and drug paraphernalia, and environmental conditions (poor lighting and upkeep). The police initiated buy-bust operations in and around the plaza and used confidential informants to find out the identity of the dealers. A trespass program was implemented enabling officers to have probable cause to arrest an individual for trespass after a warning. The assessment is still ongoing. However, the observations of the citizens and members of the city government have noted positive changes.

Redondo Beach Gang Project

Redondo Beach Police Department, Redondo Beach, CA US – 6 Pages

In late 1995, residents complained of gang activity in and around Perry Park. The citizens complained of intimidation, sounds of gunfire, drug dealing, and drunken gatherings. Many of the gang members lived around the park, which served as a meeting place for gang members. Perry Park was serving as an informal "headquarters" for gang activity. Numerous incidents of violent crime, weapons violations, drug and alcohol related activity, numerous fights, and graffiti were documented in order to obtain an injunction against the gang. A preliminary injunction was granted prohibiting the named persons, gangsters, from conducting specific activities in Perry Park and the surrounding 24-block area. Statistical analysis has indicated that gang activity in the park has decreased. More importantly, the citizens' perceptions of safety in the community have increased, and many law-abiding citizens now use the park for recreational activities.

South Central Neighborhood Project

Wichita Police Department, Wichita, KS US – 6 Pages

In the early 1990s, gangs, prostitutes and drug dealers were plaguing South Broadway. Violence, overt drug use, gangs, and prostitution made residents fearful and brought economic development to a standstill. Surveys revealed that the area's residents were concerned with the area's dilapidated appearance, prostitution, drugs, and crime. Five specific areas were targeted to address the prostitution problem including: tougher city ordinances, increased enforcement, community efforts to prevent and report crime, improving the physical appearance of the neighborhood, and use the media to publicize police efforts. During the 20-week study, statistics indicate that there was an 11 percent decrease in total crime, a 41 percent decrease in drug violations, a 47 percent decrease in prostitution, and a 16 percent reduction in 911 calls to the area.

Speeding in West Division

Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles, CA US – 4 Pages

Speeding contributed to 20% of the traffic accidents in a narrow canyon passage. The police and community residents devised a community speed watch program. Volunteers monitored traffic with a radar gun, and license plate information was used to obtain information about the owner of the vehicle. Official letters were sent informing owners of their violations and encouraging them to drive safer. In the first six months of the program, traffic accidents involving injury were reduced.