Hanover Justice Group Launches Crime Reduction Demonstration Projects in Denver
(DENVER) Internationally renowned crime control strategist George Kelling will be in Denver on Wednesday to help launch two different demonstration projects with the Denver Police Department and community stakeholders aimed at reducing crime and developing successful strategies that can be replicated citywide. Kelling’s Hanover Justice Group is also helping DPD improve the use of real-time crime data to address crime trends more quickly and effectively.
“No matter how large or dedicated our police force is, our ultimate success in reducing crime will depend on employing the right strategies, leveraging our resources for the maximum results,” said Mayor John Hickenlooper, who announced the City’s six-month contract with the Hanover Justice Group – paid for by the private Denver Police Foundation - in December 2005. “Our citizens and our police officers deserve the best, and George Kelling and the Hanover Justice Group are internationally respected crime reduction strategists with a proven record of success in city after city. The experience and data gathered through these demonstration projects will enable the Denver Police Department to implement successful crime reduction strategies citywide.”
A demonstration project in Denver’s Westwood neighborhood began over the weekend, and Kelling – co-author of the Broken Windows crime control strategy - will be in Denver on Wednesday, March 1, 2006, to launch a long-term demonstration project on interagency problem-solving collaboration in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Information on both demonstration projects is provided below. A third potential demonstration project, in northeast Denver, is currently being evaluated.
The Denver Police Department and the Hanover Justice Group are also collaborating to re-design DPD’s Command Operations Review and Evaluation (CORE) meeting. Starting in March, CORE meetings will model best practices from so-called “CompStat” meetings held in cities such as Los Angeles, London, and New York. The new CORE approach empowers district and other command staff to prioritize neighborhood crime problems and solve them creatively, while holding them accountable for making effective use of all the resources within their control. District commanders will appear before the Chief and his top staff weekly to summarize crime data from their districts and strategies being employed to address emerging crime trends.
“The new CORE process will benefit the entire community,” said Police Chief Gerald Whitman. “Not only will we be solving more problems at the district level – closer to where they are occurring, but we will be sharing more information across the department and making the best use of our resources.”
George Kelling will be available for media interviews during his Denver visit on Wednesday, March 1. Please contact Sarah Moss at 720-865-9016 to arrange.
Westwood Demonstration Project
The Westwood neighborhood was chosen as the site to demonstrate the impact of the organizational improvements being implemented in DPD as part of the engagement with the Hanover Justice Group. District 4 police officers will employ Broken Windows policing, daily crime reports, and enhanced crime analysis capabilities to help address significant crime issues in Westwood. This area was selected because it experiences a disproportionate share of crime, has strong and diverse community partnerships supportive of Broken Windows policing, and is wholly self-contained within one police precinct. Police District 4 houses three of Denver’s top 10 precincts for total offenses reported to police in 2005, including Westwood. Westwood also has a particularly high number of disorder offenses, such as criminal mischief and drug crimes, which are targets of Broken Windows policing.
The area for the demonstration project is bound by Alameda Avenue on the north, Federal Boulevard on the east, Mississippi Avenue on the south, and Sheridan Boulevard on the west. Approximately 15,000 people live in this area, nearly 6,000 of which are under the age of 18. Nearly 87% of public school students in Westwood receive free lunch, compared with 64% citywide. Over 55% of housing in Westwood is owner-occupied, slightly above the Denver average.
“From an order-maintenance approach known as Broken Windows policing, to using real-time data to drive strategic and tactical decision-making, the principles of this demonstration project are universal and can be replicated throughout Denver,” Kelling said. “The Broken Windows theory contends that disorderly behaviors and conditions are linked to fear and crime. Just as a broken window left untended in a building is a sign of apathy and invites more broken windows, disorder left untended is a sign of apathy and leads to fear of crime, withdrawal from public spaces by law-abiding citizens, a breakdown of community controls and more serious crime. As such, Broken Windows policing translates operationally into police and other criminal justice and community agencies paying greater attention to minor offenses, thereby disrupting disorderly behavior, putting officers in closer contact with more serious offenders, and reducing the opportunities for criminal activity to take place.”
The strategy for this project involves three key areas: enforcement, enhancement and outreach. Enforcement, which began on February 26, 2006, involves a focused effort on the most problematic locations within the target area, such as commercial corridors, apartment complexes, and bars and clubs that generate the majority of crime and calls for service in Westwood. Law enforcement will saturate the targeted area seven days a week, with hours of operation varied and based on analysis of the times of day when increased enforcement will be most effective.
“Our strategy is not to rack up arrests, but rather to increase the daily interaction between the police and the community and focus our enforcement attention on the habitual offenders,” said District 4 Commander Rudy Sandoval. “That’s a good thing for everyone involved – except the criminals.”
On a weekly basis, the Enforcement Team will identify priority areas where law enforcement will concentrate their efforts, guided by “hot spot” crime maps of the area. On a daily basis, police supervisors will examine the Department’s new Daily Crime Report and brief officers on the crimes committed during the previous 24 hours, helping to put “cops on the dots.” Officers will enforce minor crimes within the target area through a combination of vehicle, foot and bicycle patrols.
Enhancement efforts seek to expedite services to the targeted area that address disorderly conditions (i.e.: graffiti removal, bulk garbage pick-up, street lighting, etc.), reinforcing the visible commitment to the area and demonstrating that disorderly conditions will not be allowed. Outreach activities will integrate neighborhood groups, local youth groups and faith-based organizations to re-establish community controls over public spaces. Enhancement and outreach plans will be formulated by mid-March.
A mid-way review and report will be available in late May and the demonstration project period is expected to end in mid-August. Information will be shared among the police command staff through the effort, so that strategies that result in reduced crime can be replicated in police precincts throughout Denver.
Capitol Hill Demonstration Project
The Hanover Justice Group selected Capitol Hill, in Police District 6, for this long-term demonstration project because the unique crime and disorder problems in and around Capitol Hill are not easily susceptible to traditional enforcement action and a broader crime prevention strategy is needed.
“While police all too often come to ‘own’ local crime problems, other criminal justice and government agencies as well as businesses, faith-based institutions and community organizations are integral to reclaiming public spaces,” Kelling said. “For Capitol Hill, the challenge is structuring relationships so that all relevant partners are actively involved in decision-making about how to deal with reoccurring public safety issues.”
Mayor Hickenlooper will convene a law enforcement stakeholders group to promote interagency problem-solving collaboration in developing a comprehensive strategy and range of interventions based on existing data and guided by the goal of removing the situations and opportunities that produce crime. Kelling will help facilitate the stakeholder’s kick-off meeting.
Through better use of data and analysis to drive police strategy and tactics – and through proven “best practices” recommended by the Hanover Justice Group – the Denver Police Department will continue to address drug-selling, prostitution and public safety issues in and around Capitol Hill. These ongoing enforcement actions are necessary for the broader strategies to be developed by the stakeholders group.
“In the end, the long-term viability of Capitol Hill and other neighborhoods with seemingly intractable problems depends on changing the behavior of offenders and the setting that allows crime and disorder to occur,” Kelling said. “The best approach to achieve these goals is the formation of an interagency problem-solving collaboration team, and we look forward to jump-starting that effort.”
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