Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Goldstein Awards 2009

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Winner! Reducing Crime and Disorder at Motels and Hotels in Chula Vista, California

Chula Vista Police Department, Chula Vista, CA US – 44 Pages

Chula Vista is perfectly situated to accommodate tourists visiting both the San Diego area and Baja, Mexico, but for many years, the City’s overnight lodging industry consisted primarily of cheap motels that were havens for crime, drug dealing, parolees, and prostitutes. Police staff researched the problems at motels from a variety of perspectives and concluded that motel managers and owners could effectively control crime and disorder on their properties through good management practices, if they chose to do so. In collaboration with other city agencies, police staff developed an ordinance that enabled the city to hold motels accountable for meeting a ‘calls for service-based’ public safety performance standard. As a result of the project, calls for service to motels declined 45% and crime declined 68%; in addition, motels reported taking in more revenue and catering less to a local clientele.

Operation Cougar - reducing gang related firearms discharges - Metropolitan Division

Greater Manchester Police, Manchester, UK – 23 Pages

Gang-related gun discharges were rising in Manchester, and so were gang murders. Gang-related tensions were high and deemed to be at a critical point. An analysis of the problem identified trends, times, and ‘trigger events’. The approach adopted included innovative operational tactics coupled with new partnership interventions to protect young people at risk of gang violence. Additional responses included assessments of gang members under a multi-agency risk management process. As a result, firearm discharges were reduced by 69.3% and gang-related firearm discharges declined by 92.7%.

Operation Deface

Lancashire Constabulary, Lancashire, UK – 33 Pages

Research in the UK shows that vandalism and graffiti affects community fear levels and confidence in the police. In the Preston area of Lancashire, an analysis of the graffiti led to the identification of an emerging prominent tag, a link to other vandalism, and ultimately a further link to an emerging youth gang with rapidly expanding membership. Analysis included full identification of all of the gang’s members, including comprehensive risk assessments for each, as well as an analysis of risky times for their offending, and the pinpointing of hot spots of their criminal behavior. A multi-agency team created ‘offender managers’ and tailored interventions to each offender, while the most problematic offenders were identified for focused criminal justice action. Results were significant and included a 51% reduction in crime, significant reductions in vandalism and graffiti, and the dismantling of the gang. The project showed a way to intervene after early identification of a youth gang and a potential route for preventing the emergence of future organized crime gangs.

Renaming Terror Avenue

Nassau County District Attorney's Office, Mineola, NY US – 20 Pages

For more than three decades, the Terrace-Bedell neighborhood in the Village of Hempstead in Nassau County (New York) hosted a large open-air drug market plagued by violence. In 2007, 169 major crimes occurred in this six-block area, including 10% of the City’s violent crime. The drug market survived three decades of law enforcement efforts. The County District Attorney and the Village of Hempstead Police joined with the community to try a different approach designed by David Kennedy. Police gathered enough evidence for arrests of the 50+ principal drug dealers driving the open-air market but for 18 dealers with no violent histories a different community intervention was designed. The partnership resulted in the elimination of the drug market, an 87% reduction in narcotics activity, a 10% reduction in Part 1 crime, and a 74% reduction in overall crime in one year. From January to June 2009, there have been no drug arrests. The initiative resulted in building trust between the community and law enforcement allowing the District Attorney to redefine her role to include meaningful prevention efforts that serve the community at-large.

The Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy

Winnipeg Police Service, Winnipeg, MB CA – 24 Pages

Winnipeg had North America's highest rate of vehicle theft from 2003 to 2007 and  reckless driving by the thieves further magnified concern about the problem. The Manitoba Auto Theft Task Force tried several tactics to reduce the problem but despite some temporary successes rates continued to climb. Crime analysis became the core of the new approach, including an examination of police statistics, insurance company statistics, police files, court files, and interviews of police, justice officials, and offenders. It was discovered that most thefts were for joyriding and a detailed picture of patterns, causes and consequences of the thefts emerged. The Task Force’s strategy included a tiered approach to at-risk youth, including intensive community supervision of high-risk offenders, and installation of vehicle immobilizers in the highest risk vehicles. Theft rates fell by 29% in 2007, 42% in 2008, and 34% during the early part of 2009 for a total reduction of 75% since the inception of the program. These reductions are far greater than for any other Canadian city or other Manitoba communities.

Trolley Safe

Warwickshire Police, Warwick, UK – 21 Pages

In 2006, an analysis of crimes at shops in Warwickshire revealed that 253 involved the stealing of purses or wallets, and 50% of these were stolen in supermarkets. Many purses or wallets were stolen from victims' personal bags or shopping carts while shopping. The project involved engaging partners to design, implement and evaluate a device for the secure storage of customer’s bags in a shopping cart. A redesigned cart with a secure area was introduced in a supermarket and evaluated for its use and effectiveness. Nineteen percent of observed customers used the redesigned cart. While fear of bag theft declined, design and maintenance issues were identified. Theft levels, however, remained the same as the previous year, although this was attributed to the short time frame of the evaluation. Even so, none of the thefts were from the refitted shopping carts.