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A business district experienced high rates of crime. An investigation revealed that only 20 people were responsible for most of the neighborhood complaints. The police led a community effort to actively enforce public ordinances, increase liquor license regulation, mobilize citizens at city council meetings, modify the environmental design, use the courts as a liaison for alcoholic treatment, and have alcohol merchants refuse to sell alcohol to chronic offenders. The business district was revitalized and calls-for-service decreased substantially.
A police department was overwhelmed with calls-for-service involving child custody disputes and exchanges. The district attorney’s office could only prosecute the most serious cases. Most of the law enforcement agencies in the county had different procedures for reporting child custody and court order violations. The agencies increased communication, established uniform policies, and encouraged people to avoid calling the police with their custody and exchange problems. Parents with recurring custody and exchange problems were required to work through a private agency, which provided supervised child custody exchanges. Calls-for-service related to child custody violations decreased by 65 percent, and the district attorney’s office increased the number of cases prosecuted.
A neighborhood was troubled by high rates of juvenile crime during the daytime. An investigation revealed that truancy was not viewed as a high priority and no actions were taken against truants or their parents. Police collaborated with school officials and established a program to reduce chronic truancy and juvenile crime. Daytime crime decreased, school attendance increased, and the targeted school enjoyed the highest attendance rate in the city’s public school system.
A neighborhood was plagued by high rates of crime, narcotics trafficking, vandalism, burglary, and disorder. Data revealed that the number, types, and location of crimes confirmed the residents’ concerns. An increase in rental properties, a decline in housing conditions, and poor screening of tenants contributed to the crime and disorder. A large group of residents and the police collaborated to develop a plan to combat crime and improve neighborhood conditions. The number of executed narcotics warrants, vandalism incidents, and burglaries decreased.
Nuisance behavior and maintenance issues at an intersection were a focal point of the citizen complaints. A plan was developed to address the problems affecting this intersection including modifying the physical environment and consistent enforcement. Structures and vegetation facilitating crime and disorder and graffiti were removed. Garbage disposal and pick-up were improved, and local businesses were involved in increasing building and street maintenance. Calls-for-service, graffiti, and litter were reduced, while the quality of life increased.
A high-crime and economically-disadvantaged area was plagued with prostitutes. Residents and business owners feared being victims of prostitution-related crime. Police would arrest prostitutes, who usually received a fine in lieu of jail time. Restraining orders were used to prevent habitual prostitutes from engaging in nuisance activities related to prostitution. Restraining orders were strictly enforced, and the courts set bail at $20,000 and imposed jail time. Prostitution on the street was nearly eradicated, and public safety was improved.
Research indicated that police officers spent 25% of their time on nuisance calls. Most of the complaints involved disorderly behavior by groups of young people, who were usually issued a warning and ordered to disperse by police. Complainants were frustrated by police’s inactions. The calls drained police resources. The police implemented a program to obtain intelligence on the people involved in nuisance, identify hot spots, and to take action against repeat offenders through the use of diversion and education. Nuisance calls were decreased substantially.
Traditional police responses to neighborhood crime and disorder were ineffective. A survey revealed that residents were frustrated with their neighborhood because of disorder and the inability of the police to control crime. A variety of problem-solving initiatives were undertaken by police-community partnerships including crackdowns on gang and drug activity and landlords violating building codes. Partnerships were established with local business leaders to purchase homes near criminal activity to use as community-policing centers. Data revealed that in the two neighborhoods where community-policing centers were established, crime decreased as businesses and residents reinvested in the communities.