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Graffiti impinged on the quality of life. Police examined the nature, extent, and location of graffiti in the community. The majority of graffiti were located on multi-family housing units and businesses, and in the vicinity of the home or school of the perpetrators. The suspects were young males. The police formed a partnership with community and governmental agencies. Chronic offenders were identified, monitored by the police, and participated in bi-monthly paint-outs. Volunteers were assigned to keep blocks graffiti free. Mentoring programs were developed and junior high students painted murals on the most heavily tagged walls and assisted police by reporting graffiti. Graffiti decreased and youth became more involved in the community.
Gasoline thefts at convenience stores increased the number of reported thefts and were consuming valuable police resources. A disproportionate number of gas thefts occurred at four convenience stores, owned by the same company. The clerks at the stores generally reported drive-offs long after they occurred and did not report information about the suspects. The problem appeared to be the result of company policy and poor environmental design. The company reported all losses as thefts, and the gas pumps were not easily visible from inside the store. Corporate officials were asked to change the company’s policy on reporting gasoline thefts, and the police officers recommended changes to enhance visibility of pumps from inside the store. The number of reported gas drive-offs decreased immediately.
A city was plagued by gangs and open-air drug markets, especially in older neighborhoods with dilapidated rental properties owned by absentee landlords. The police received little cooperation from the landlords in screening tenants and evicting problem tenants. An ordinance required property owners to maintain inspection certificates. The city council passed a new ordinance requiring landlords to cooperate with police if criminal activity was suspected on their properties. Failing to cooperate would result in a order to vacate property. Police trained landlords to identify problem tenants, screen new tenants, enforce drug clauses, and evict problem tenants. Calls for service were decreased, and quality of life increased.
A park was located next to a gentrifying neighborhood with a high level of drug activity. The police dispelled drug dealers from the neighborhood, and drug trade moved to the park. Law-abiding residents, fearing crime, quit visiting the park. A plan was devised to involve residents in problem solving and rid the park of drugs. Plainclothes officers were used to identify dealers, and residents allowed police to use their homes as vantage points. University students and horticulturists eliminated visual obstructions and replaced the low bushes where dealers stashed drugs. The dog pound was used to control unleashed dogs used by drug dealers to intimidate residents. Drug trade decreased and citizens returned to the park.
A home for people with mental disabilities was located in a high-crime area. Many of the home’s residents were not capable of living on their own and became victims of and contributed to crime. The home’s poor management and a lack of government regulation contributed to the problem. The police, working with community and government agencies, used state licensing regulations to compel the home to take better care of its residents, remove residents not capable of independent living, and improve management. Numerous violations were found and the owner sold the property and evicted all residents. Calls-for-service decreased, and a survey revealed neighborhood residents felt safer.
A shelter providing social services to homeless men was located in a business district located next to a residential neighborhood. Calls-for-service to the shelter were increasing, and businesses complained of losing business due to crimes committed by the homeless. The police discovered that few of the calls to the shelter resulted in an arrest or police report. Most of the calls should been handled by the shelter’s management, who did not understand the proper use of 911. The police mobilized the community to gain cooperation from the shelter. Shelter supervisors were trained on the proper use of 911 and to better enforce and clarify the shelter’s rules. Calls-for-service decreased.