Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Goldstein Awards 2004

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Winner! Operation Cobra: Tackling Vehicle Crime in the City of Portsmouth

Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire, UK – 33 Pages

This winning Goldstein Award submission describes Operation Cobra - a multi-agency problem oriented policing initiative that addresses vehicle crime in the United Kingdom. In particular, the initiative was launched in 2003 following increases in vehicle crime, despite being a priority and focus for the Crime and Disorder Strategic Partnership in the first year of the 2002-2005 strategy. This strategically planned initiative is based on crime pattern analysis and evidence-based practice in order to combine "quick wins" with long-term sustainable actions. Key areas of problem solution explored through the initiative included: maximizing forensic potential and intelligence gathering; developing an extensive three-tier crime reduction strategy; and initiating a high profile media campaign. The Portsmouth City Council also worked in partnership with the police to deliver parts of the plan such as redesigning car park areas, supporting a proactive media campaign, and suppor ting specific PRIME initiatives in "hot spot" locations. Overall, Operation Cobra has been responsible for a substantial decrease in vehicle crime, and the target reduction for the strategy has already been reached during its first nine months of operation. The combination of enforcement and prevention work has led to some dramatic "quick wins," but is truly underpinned by prevention work that will lead to sustainable results. In particular, the initiative demonstrates the importance of effective partnership working based on informed analysis and evidenced-based practice.

Gypsy Cabs in Tonsberg

Vestfold Police District, Vestfold, NO – 24 Pages

This Goldstein Award submission describes a problem oriented policing project designed to address illegal weekend gypsy cab operation in the small Norwegian town of T√łnsberg. Overall, four causal factors associated with the gypsy cab operations were identified: a temporary shortage in the supply of means of transport; a simple means of earning money for drivers; the location of pick-up areas for legal means of transport; and a lack of awareness among customers of the consequences of illegal gypsy cab operation. Several measures were tried, including: blocking off pick-up areas used by gypsy cabs; making buses and taxis more accessible; introducing stiffer consequences for those caught driving gypsy cabs; and informing the public about the risks involved and about legal transportation alternatives. Overall, there were fewer gypsy cabs operating - both less intensively and less obviously - by comparison with the situation prior to the introduction of these problem-ori ented measures. Further, there were no indications of a feared deterioration in the public order situation. The implemented measures, therefore, contributed to making illegal means of transport less accessible and legal means more accessible, with no unintended negative effects.

Mole Hills from Mountains

Lancashire Constabulary, Lancashire, UK – 9 Pages

This Goldstein Award submission describes a problem oriented policing project designed to address a significant increase in the number of missing person cases in Lancashire Police Constabulary (United Kingdom) over the past few years. A computerized analysis of missing person data revealed that 41% of all reports involved repeat individuals, of which 81% were from children's homes or hospitals. A few individuals were also categorized as prolific repeat cases; for example, one person was reported missing 90 times during a 19-month period. Additional research had shown that missing persons were engaged in a variety of criminal activity, drug abuse and prostitution. As such, the Lancashire County Council, private care companies and hospitals worked together to establish protocols to address various aspects of this problem, and a police liaison officer was assigned to each care establishment with responsibilities for coordinating the responses of multiple agencies. The assess ment was conducted during different periods between July 2002 and March 2004. The earliest comparisons (July-September 2002 with July-September 2003) showed a 19% reduction in missing persons, with a 68% reduction evidenced through two later comparison periods. Overall, these reductions project an annual savings of $355,000 for the southern division and $2.88 million for the entire police force. As such, by focusing on individuals in care, significant reductions in missing person reports can be achieved. This benefits the individual and the local community, and reduces the consequential burden on police resources. A nationally recognized missing persons system has also been developed and implemented as a result of this intervention, which has aided the overall quality of missing person investigations.

Reducing Traffic Congestion Around Barron Early Childhood School

Plano Police Department, Plano, TX US – 15 Pages

This Goldstein Award submission describes a problem oriented policing project designed to reduce traffic congestion around the Barron Early Childhood School in Plano, Texas. The school is located on the corner or a major thoroughfare and a narrow residential street, and several environmental factors limited the flow of traffic. In particular, due to increasingly heavy vehicular traffic, changing uses of the school, and an outgrown traffic management design, traffic congestion in this area was excessive and residents complained of numerous traffic and parking violations, crashes, and overwhelming inconvenience in traveling this area. Further analysis also revealed more crashes in this area than around other similarly situated schools. Building upon existing partnerships, therefore, the Neighborhood Police Officer coordinated with the Plano Independent School District, the Village Creek planning team, other residents and several city departments to create a comprehensive traffic management plan, including a new park road, which was successfully implemented to reduce traffic congestion, crashes, and complaints near the Barron School.

The Hopwood Triangle

Lancashire Constabulary, Lancashire, UK – 37 Pages

This Goldstein Award submission describes a problem oriented policing project in the "Hopwood Triangle" - a Preston City Council (United Kingdom) owned development of 91 dwellings that had slipped into a spiral of decline, and witnessed an increase in damaged properties, burglary, prostitution and anti-social behavior. The Hopwood Triangle initiative began in January of 2002 as a multi-agency approach designed to deliver long-term and sustainable changes and improvements within the area. Specifically, a Crime Prevention/Safer by Design survey was conducted and resulted in a "Masterplan" focusing on external domestic lighting, fencing/railings, CCTV, grounds maintenance and landscaping, and demolition of lock-up garages; identification and eviction of problem tenants; targeted enforcement of offenders; formation of a Residents Association and Neighborhood Forum; and the implementation of Operation Kerb/Safer Sex Works to target p rostitution activity. The problem assessment was based on two years of the project's implementation. All figures and outcomes are calculated until the end of 2003 and discussed in reference to the project's initial objectives. Over a project life of two years, the Hopwood Triangle has exceeded all expectations and met all initial project objectives. For modest initial capital funding, savings in policing costs and the securing of Council rental income has been delivered. Further, the neighborhood has a dramatically improved sense of community and a greater tolerance and understanding of its neighbors at Milbank Court (a homeless hostel within the area). Residents have also seen significant reductions in crime and anti-social behavior as well as physical improvements to their living environment. In particular, through participation in the Residents Association and Neighborhood Forums, citizens are now empowered to preserve the cohesive and increasingly safe neighborhoo d in which they live.