Posts Tagged ‘Illinois’

Data-driven policing for public trust

July 16, 2018

Most of the focus of data-driven and evidence-based policing has been on the goal of reducing crime. This article reports efforts in New York and several other PDs to collect real-time data on public sentiment toward police. Using short pop-up surveys on smartphones and other modern techniques, geo-based responses from thousands of people can be collected at fairly low cost. The question then becomes what to do with the data — police commanders are still working on that.


Graffiti — vandalism or street art?

July 6, 2018

This column discusses evolving strategies used by cities to deal with graffiti, including rapid removal and designating locations for street art. “Art alleys” and wall murals, examples of “second-generation graffiti,” are increasingly popular. But one expert says “Most of the kids doing graffiti are not into artistic murals. The tagging motivation is to seek notoriety. The gang motivation is to instill fear.” Big cities continue to spend millions per year on graffiti eradication.

SCOTUS decision on public employee unions

June 28, 2018

By a 5-4 vote on a case likely to affect police unions, as reported here, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that “forcing state and local government employees to pay union fees is an unconstitutional infringement on their right to free speech.” Prior to the decision, mandatory payment of such union fees or dues was permitted in about half the states. Critics of the decision called it an example of union-busting driven by “corporate CEOs and wealthy special interests rigging the economy even more in their favor.”

Where killings go unsolved

June 7, 2018

This article analyzes over 50,000 homicides in U.S. cities, mapping neighborhoods with higher and lower clearance rates. There are variations between cities but also within, with fewer murders solved in low-income minority neighborhoods. Factors seem to include the challenge presented by drug- and gang-related cases, reluctant witnesses, lack of trust in police, and the resources devoted to homicide investigation.

Back to basics

June 5, 2018

Several items in the news demonstrate renewed emphasis on community policing. The newly nominated LAPD chief, Michel Moore, is known as a problem solver and critical thinker committed to engaging the community more deeply. The NYPD commissioner credits re-emphasized neighborhood policing for continued crime reductions, saying “This isn’t some community-policing charade with a handful of special officers glad-handing local activists … cops are embedding in smaller groups within precincts and getting a granular understanding not only of the residents, but of the problems, the crimes and, specifically, the criminals in those neighborhoods.” And in Chicago, officials cite renewed community policing as a main factor in the city’s 15-consecutive-month decline in gun violence.

Gun violence down in Chicago

June 5, 2018

Following a very bad year for Chicago in 2016, this article reports that murders and shootings have declined for 15 consecutive months. Officials credit a renewed emphasis on community policing, more use of data and technology, and increased police hiring. The upcoming summer months will be watched closely to see if the improvements can be sustained.

Mining social media

April 27, 2018

This article discusses legal and ethical issues connected to police mining of social media. Data from social media have the potential to solve and prevent crimes as well as terror attacks, but many 4th amendment and privacy questions have yet to be sorted out. Also, choices of search terms and phrases can reflect bias and result in police actions that have disproportionate impact on some groups. Among the suggestions is transparency so residents can understand and critique the algorithms and processes that police propose.

Positions open (analytical): Chicago PD

April 3, 2018

Chicago PD is looking to hire an Assistant Director of Analytics and an Assistant Director of Auditing. The positions will report directly to the CPD’s new Director of Strategy, supervise a number of analysts and compliance officers/auditors respectively, and play critical roles in the department’s reform and crime work. Applications are due by April 10.

Police department gives a grant

March 6, 2018

This article reports the Naperville (IL) PD giving a $36,000 grant from drug seizure funds to a local non-profit that provides counseling and prevention services to homeless youth. “This opportunity aligns directly with our department’s mission and values and allows us to provide much-needed funding to an organization that is working toward the common goal of preventing substance abuse,” according to the chief.

Getting oversight right

January 24, 2018

This article discusses the pros and cons of various alternatives for achieving police accountability, such as civilian review, police auditors, and special commissions. The public tends to want an independent process but the oversight systems don’t always succeed and they risk diluting the chief or sheriff’s responsibility for discipline. Chicago is cited as one place currently trying several options at once.