Posts Tagged ‘Illinois’

Fewer police shootings in large cities

June 8, 2020

Since the Washington Post and others started systematically counting deaths in police custody 5 years ago, the total number per year in the U.S. has stayed relatively flat. However, this analysis reports that the number has decreased 30% in large cities since 2013, and 17% since 2015. There has also been a 37% decrease in total (fatal and non-fatal) police shootings since 2013, according to data available for 23 of the large cities. These drops have been offset by increases in suburban and rural areas. The author speculates that reforms implemented in many big cities since 2015 have not been as widely adopted in non-urban jurisdictions.

Policing after the first wave of COVID-19

May 22, 2020

This op-ed considers the top challenges for policing during the next wave of the pandemic virus. It notes that COVID-19 initially disrupted patterns of street crime in some places, but, in Mexico for example, “premeditated strategic warfare among organized crime groups did not, for the most part, decrease during the worldwide lockdowns.” Now, with communities re-opening amid much higher unemployment and potential food shortages, street crime may surge. In the U.S., the author identifies two big factors of additional concern — the national government’s counter-productive pressure to focus local policing on immigration enforcement, and the rise of violent right-wing, neo-Nazi, anti-government groups that pose “an even greater danger to public safety and the quality of democracy than most criminal groups could ever mount.”

Extreme speeders on empty roads

April 22, 2020

This article reports another pandemic-related phenomenon — extreme speeding on nearly empty roads. Nationally, vehicle traffic has dropped by about two-thirds, which should result in fewer crashes, but some states have experienced increased high-speed fatalities. According to one official, “People are saying, ‘Wow, the roads are wide open. There’s no one here but me.’ We’re seeing incredibly crazy, off-the-chart speed and aggressiveness.” Police in several states report 100+ mph violations becoming common.

Lost revenue for police training

March 4, 2020

Illinois is among the states that uses traffic fines and court costs to partially fund police training. As reported here, legislative changes aimed at making fines and fees more fair for lower income drivers have caused a significant drop in revenue. The state’s training and standards board is $5 million short since last summer, leading it to raise what it charges agencies for entry-level and in-service training. Medium size agencies are facing increased costs in the $50,000-$100,000 range in the middle of the their budget cycles.

Art, perception, and policing

February 3, 2020

New York and Chicago PDs have incorporated fine art in training aimed at enhancing perception skills and overcoming bias, as reported here. One CPD commander notes “By training in the art field, your brain tends to adapt and see things in a way [other] people might not see,” including learning not to make quick assumptions about what you observe. The historian who teaches “The Art of Perception” says “In this disengaged world that we’re living in, art from the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries still has the power to engage people to look more carefully.”

Pros and cons of firearms simulators

January 21, 2020

A news reporter reviews his experience using a local agency’s firearms simulator in this article. He learned that use-of-force situations can be unpredictable and fast-changing, but he also felt that the simulation operator frequently chose worst-case branching options. The result can be “negative training” — officers try deescalation but end up getting shot, learning that “It doesn’t matter what I do.” Instead, according to one expert, “The scenario should be driven by the choices of the officer and not the operator,” so that good judgment is reinforced.

District-level RTCCs in Chicago

December 7, 2019

This new RAND report assesses the implementation and impact of district-level Real-Time Crime Centers (also called Strategic Decision Support Centers) in Chicago. The study found modest effects on serious crime and concluded that the Centers are “a promising model for improving law enforcement agencies’ awareness of their communities, improving their decision making, and carrying out more effective and more efficient operations that lead to crime reductions and other policing benefits.” It was noted that the initial emphasis has mainly been on support for reactive patrol responses, leading to a recommendation “to expand and formalize SDSC support for crime investigations. There is also a need to expand the districts’ responses to crime issues, including by gaining trust with residents and having positive community interactions with them to get information to reduce or solve crimes.”

Community policing in Chicago

November 23, 2019

This article provides a nice review of the ups and downs of community policing in Chicago over the last two decades, including promising early results from renewed efforts now underway. With the police superintendent retiring, it will be interesting to see if a new leader follows the current path or a different one.

Threatening to commit mass shootings

September 3, 2019

This article reports over 40 people arrested around the country over the last month for threatening to commit mass shootings or bombings, most after tips from the public. Common themes included right-wing ideology and threats against schools, Walmarts, and Planned Parenthood. The nature of the cases ranged from “vague social media threats from juveniles that set parents on edge to well-developed plots from people who had access to weapons and appeared to authorities to have been planning a mass murder.”

Focus on neighborhoods, youth in Aurora, IL

July 18, 2019

This column profiles Aurora, Illinois, a city of 200,000 that went from 26 murders in 2002 to zero 10 years later, and has kept the number low. The city credits “sustained engagement of neighborhood organizing groups with the police, the success of youth programs meant to deter kids from joining gangs, and the implementation of community policing.” Resisting any cookie-cutter approach, “cops are assigned to areas as specific as neighborhoods, schools, and community groups, and are tasked with serving as a liaison for the police force when community groups and school officers bring up concerns.”