Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Goldstein Awards 1998

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Winner! Operation Cease Fire

Boston Police Department, Boston, MA US – 22 Pages

In Boston, youth homicide increased from 1987 to 1990 and remained high from 1991 and 1995. Youth homicides were mapped geographically, gun markets were analyzed, and the criminal histories of youth homicide victims were collected revealing that most youth homicides occurred in three neighborhoods, 75% of the homicide victims had had been arraigned for at least one offense, and Boston gangs were responsible for 60% of the homicides. Illicit gun trafficking was targeted, and the police disrupted street drug activity by focusing on low-level street crimes, serving outstanding warrants, and cultivating informants. Firearm homicides decreased by 60% among victims under the age of 24.

Cowboys: A Problem Solving Initiative

Arlington Police Department, Arlington, TX US – 6 Pages

A nightclub drew large crowds. Police spent a disproportionate time receiving complaints and responding to calls-for-service for club-related incidents. Public drunkenness, assaults, and driving while intoxicated were common in the vicinity surrounding the club. Many of the club’s patrons were repeat offenders. Traditional police responses were inadequate. A partnership between the police force and the club's management was established. Calls-for-service and alcohol related arrests decreased.

Crimes Against Senior Citizens

Nassau County Police Department, NY US – 9 Pages

Police officers discovered a pattern of crimes involving scams, cons and frauds targeting senior citizens. A database was developed to track these crimes. As large amounts of cash are involved in the scams, officers have trained bank personnel to ask questions about withdrawals and started educational programs to increase awareness in senior citizens. The utility companies were trained in reporting and recognizing imposter utility workers and notifying 911 using a special form.

Mission Valley River Preserve

San Diego Police Department, San Diego, CA US – 10 Pages

In 1996, police officers were assigned to assist in cleaning up a portion of the San Diego River. The river ’s problems were the result of illegal lodging activity. Trespassers used the river as a base for criminal activity and were damaging the river's ecosystem. Arrests and clean-ups were not solving the problem. Dense vegetation and a lack of roads and public use made the river an attractive area for criminal activities. This portion of the river has historical significance and is a refuge for endangered animal species and native plants. Agencies and stakeholders cooperated to turn the area into a Nature Preserve. The criminal element has been replaced with citizens who will protect and restore the river, both for the sake of nature and for future generations.

Operation Hot Pipe, Smokey Haze, and Re-Hab

San Diego Police Department, San Diego, CA US – 12 Pages

University Avenue had earned a reputation as a violent, drug-infested den of criminality. The illicit drug market was fueled by word-of-mouth marketing. The police increased enforcement in the area to discourage dealers and users, created confusion among drug users through a disinformation campaign, and developed a community response to bring legitimate business back to University Avenue and place users into rehabilitation programs. Most of the key drug marketers were incarcerated, thus destabilizing the drug market. Surveys revealed that local businesspersons believed the problems decreased, the area was safer, and revenues increased.

Police Response to Incidents of Domestic Emergencies, (PRIDE)

Newport News Police Department, Newport News, VA US – 6 Pages

Between 1976 and 1984, nearly half of the homicides in Newport News were the result of domestic violence. Nearly all of the domestic-related homicides had calls for service to the police prior to the death and more than half of the cases had six or more. Women's advocates, mental health, courts, prosecution, and law enforcement developed a more effective response to help parties resolve the causes of violence before it escalated into homicide. Even though the number of homicides generally increased over the years, the number of domestic violence homicides began to decrease.

Raby Rebels Youth Project

Cleveland Police , Middlesbrough, UK – 14 Pages

A housing project was plagued with juvenile crime. Fearful residents were reluctant to report crimes due to fear of reprisal and a lack of confidence in the police. An investigation revealed that low self-esteem, boredom, a lack of meaningful relationships, and low parental interest led to high rates of juvenile delinquency. Police presence was increased, violations were strictly enforced, and relationships with residents grew. A youth group was formed and supervised by members of the community policing team. Calls-for-service decreased, residents became more involved with youth, school officials reported improved behavior, and delinquency by group members came to a halt.

San Ysidro Boulevard

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

A two-block area experienced a steady growth of illegal and dangerous activities including traffic problems and misuse of the 911 emergency system. The San Diego Police Department Crime Analysis unit compiled statistics to identify the underlying causes of the problems, which were demanded an enormous amount of officer out of service time. Many travelers inadvertently dialed 911 instead of 011 as they completed international calls, and criminals use the 911 system to divert police responses. Environmental design and special teams were formed to combat isolated non-violent problems. The community was educated, and enforcement was increased. Crime statistics are down, officer out-of-service time has fallen significantly and changes to the traffic flow have reduced the traffic congestion.

Speed Enforcement Program:

Glendale Police Department, Glendale, AZ US – 7 Pages

The number and seriousness of traffic collisions were increasing. "Zero-tolerance" and mandatory arrests were used when drivers operated their vehicles in an aggressive manner. The program, however, had the unintended consequence of generating negative publicity. The police decided to explore other means to make the roadways safer. The police joined forces with other agencies to design a comprehensive program to change attitudes and behaviors. Resources from each agency were used to increase public awareness and enhance traffic control mechanisms. The number and seriousness of collisions has decreased.

The Transient Enrichment Network (TEN-4)

Fontana Police Department, Fontana, CA US – 8 Pages

Businesses identified homelessness as the most severe problem in the city. Easy access to the city and extensive charitable groups made the city a desirable destination for the homeless. A partnership was formed between the police department and charities working with the homeless. A referral facility was opened to assist the homeless in getting off the streets. Nuisance laws were strictly enforced. Businesses agreed to supply jobs and training for the homeless, while charitable groups referred subjects to the program. The number of homeless people in the city decreased by 90 percent and calls-for-service related to homelessness were reduced by 50 percent.