Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Goldstein Awards 2010

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Winner! Homeless Outreach Team (HOT)

Colorado Springs Police Department, Colorado Springs, CO US – 15 Pages

The City of Colorado Springs experienced a dramatic increase in the number of homeless camps on public land adjacent to recreational trails and creek beds with the population swelling to 500. With little enforcement and no clean-ups, the camps were generating a tremendous amount of litter (including human waste) that was creating a public health hazard and an outcry by many citizens. A Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) was formed which coordinated efforts among a large number of advocacy groups, shelters, and service providers to get services to the homeless community. With extensive public input, an enforceable "no camping" ordinance was passed and procedures were put in place to help the homeless into more permanent housing and programs. As a result of this collaboration, most of the homeless camp areas have been cleaned up and no arrests have been made for violation of the ordinance. With the help of the HOT, local nonprofits have sheltered 229 families and allowed 117 individuals to reunite with family out of state. They have also documented 100 people becoming employed and self-sufficient.

Chronic Consumer Stabilization Initiative

Houston Police Department, Houston, TX US – 39 Pages

In 2007, the Houston Police Department had three deadly force encounters with persons with a history of severe mental illness and numerous prior contacts with officers. Department statistics indicate that annually, Houston police increasingly respond to calls-for-service involving persons in serious mental health crises. Analysis revealed a small number of problematic chronic consumers with a disproportionately high number of encounters with police. A partnership was formed between the Houston Police Department, Mental Health Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County, and the City of Houston Health Department. City funding was provided for two licensed caseworkers to work with the 30 most chronic mentally ill persons repeatedly in contact with the police department. In just six months, there was a 70% decrease in contacts between the individuals with chronic mental illness and the Houston Police Department. An estimated 972 police manpower hours were diverted and there was a significant reduction in involuntary hospitalizations among this population.

Reclaiming the Corner of Chaos

Dayton Police Department, Dayton, OH US – 39 Pages

The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (RTA) headquarters and its bus hub were located on a major public right of way in the historic center of downtown. High-profile incidents of disorder and open air drug use occurred there with systemic regularity. Recurrent fights regarding drug transactions, neighborhood quarrels, and social disputes occurred as peer groups converged to catch connecting buses. Routine media coverage tainted citizen perceptions of the area. Analysis of arrests revealed a high repeat offender rate by a relatively few number of offenders. A multipronged response was initiated and included environmental alterations; education of RTA personnel and police; and targeting of high-rate offenders. Disturbance calls dropped (involving 3 or more police units) from forty-seven (47) incidents in 2009 to only six (6) for first quarter of 2010, with none reaching media attention. Citizen perceptions of the area dramatically improved.

Reducing theft from elderly victims in shopping areas

Merseyside Police Department, Merseyside, UK – 20 Pages

During 2009 an increase in reports of theft from the person was identified within Southport Town Centre, a tourist area. Analysis identified two hotspot areas at either end of the main shopping boulevard. Applying the problem analysis triangle enabled the identification of the contributing factors and the appropriate managers, handlers and guardians. A multipronged response consisted of training for tourism and store staff, tourist education, target hardening, a media prevention campaign, alley gating, provisions of drug substitutes, and shop redesign. The overall level of crimes reduced substantially with no displacement to surrounding areas. The changes to the location are permanent and, in addition to reducing the risk to the elderly, benefit the night-time economy. No displacement, but rather diffusion of benefits was observed.

Shiregreen Alliance

South Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire, UK – 15 Pages

Towards the end of 2007, there was a rise in crime on the Shiregreen Estate, one of the biggest estates in the whole of Europe; houses were being broken into after residents had de-camped for renovations to commence on their properties. The existing metal and heating systems stolen also coincided with a national rise in metal theft. The isolated location of these properties provided abundant opportunity and offenders would work in the house unhindered often disguising themselves as workmen. A partnership was formed of key stakeholders and designated decision makers allowing the project to be driven forward through strategic concentration on problem locations, victims, and offenders. Ongoing evaluation of the projects short, medium, and long term successes were monitored and used to inform refine of response strategies.

Smashing Time - or Not

Lancashire Constabulary, Lancashire, UK – 55 Pages

In Lancashire during 2006/07 some 154 offences caused by glassware were reported force wide and 41 in Western Division (Blackpool), a problem that had been increasing nationally. Injuries caused by glassware are more severe than simple assaults with victims suffering not only physical scars but also psychological impact. Estimates place the cost of treating each glass injury in the region at £184,000. Analysis revealed that such calls clustered in the Western Division and disproportionately occurred between 9pm and 4am on Thursday through to Sunday. Officers conducted independent research into safer glass use over a 3 month period, acquired funds to purchase 50% of new polycarbonate glassware for problematic and potentially problematic premises as long as they funded the remainder to change completely to polycarbonates. A crime reduction of 58.3% (20 less victims) and a 36.6% decrease in calls for service between 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 was achieved which resulted in a cost savings of £3,680,000.