Posts Tagged ‘Massachusetts’

Place-based policing & violent crime

March 14, 2022

Amid concerns about increases in violent crime, it is important to remember that “violence is highly concentrated in small sets of people and places,” and thus it makes sense to take a targeted approach to the problem. This column argues in particular for a strategy of place-based policing, an approach that doesn’t require “passing new legislation or adding enormous budget expenditures.” Examples of crime concentration from Boston, Minneapolis, and Oakland, California are cited, along with evidence of the effectiveness of problem-oriented and hot spot policing strategies.

More died from gunshots than car crashes in 2020

January 11, 2022

According to CDC data, gunshot deaths exceeded car crash fatalities in 2020 for the 4th year in a row, as reported here. More than 45,000 people died of gunshot wounds in the U.S., an all-time high. The total was up 14% over 2019, the biggest one year spike on record. The age-adjusted gun death rate was the highest since 1994. The increase was largely driven by homicides, which increased 35% in one year. Mississippi and Louisiana had the highest rates of gun deaths, while Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New Jersey had the lowest. Mississippi’s rate was more than 8 times higher than Hawaii’s and more than twice the national average. Nationally, Black males between the ages of 15-34 continued to bear the brunt of gun homicides, accounting for 42% of victims — but representing only 2% of the population.

Police vaccinations lag behind public

September 29, 2021

In many jurisdictions, the proportion of police vaccinated against COVID-19 is lagging behind the rate for the general public. The shortfall among police is 20% in NY, 21% in LA, and 28% in San Diego, according to this article. Police in Denver have sued to block the city’s vaccination requirement, nearly 200 San Francisco police employees are seeking religious exemptions, and dozens of Massachusetts State Police troopers have resigned rather than get mandated vaccinations. Meanwhile, at mid-year for 2021, more U.S. officers had died from COVID than from firearms-related and traffic-related causes combined, as reported here

More on Covid & cops

September 7, 2021

Since the start of 2020, 61% of police line of duty deaths have been the result of Covid-19, as reported here. The next biggest category, gunfire, accounts for less than 14%. More and more jurisdictions and police departments are mandating vaccinations for employees, as well as wearing of masks. The Officer Down Memorial Page displays the banner “Getting vaccinated is just as important as wearing your vest and your seatbelt.One chief put it this way — “Knowing that COVID-19 killed more cops last year than all other causes combined, to include traffic accidents and being shot, what kind of Chief would I be if I didn’t consider it to be the singular most critical Officer Safety issue of our time?”

COPS Guide on civilian oversight

August 6, 2021

The COPS Office has published a report on civilian oversight of law enforcement, available here. Prepared by the National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE), the report “combines survey data, case studies of oversight bodies nationwide, and a literature review to outline the history of civilian oversight and its spread; define three standard oversight models and discuss their implementation; propose 13 principles for effective oversight; and provide recommendations for each within an effective practices framework.” Links to an executive summary and case studies from 9 cities are available here.

Behind the badge

June 9, 2021

CBS News “Sunday Morning” recently devoted an hour-long show to policing, available here. Included are interviews with Bill Bratton and a variety of street-level officers from across the country, plus segments on policing in Europe and Japan, and reports on alternative strategies such as non-police responses to people experiencing behavioral crisis.

Firearms mortality by state

March 26, 2021

In 2020, 44,000 Americans died by firearm in the U.S. — almost 20,000 by murder or accident, and 24,000 by suicide. This short column presents data on death by firearms by state for the previous year, 2019. Two states, Alaska and Mississippi, had firearms mortality rates 7 times higher than the state with the lowest rate, Massachusetts. Besides Alaska and Mississippi, other states with rates above 20 per 100,000 population were Alabama, Louisiana, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Missouri. Along with Massachusetts, states with fewer than 5 per 100,000 were Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York.

Police union contracts and reform

February 3, 2021

This article predicts that reformers will soon start targeting police union contracts, noting that “Over multiple rounds of negotiations, the number of job protections has slowly ratcheted up in many contracts as unions representing police pushed for rules that protect their members.” Houston and Chicago are currently in negotiations, with Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Memphis, Phoenix, and San Francisco coming up this summer. Topics recommended for reconsideration include grievance procedures, arbitration, misconduct reporting, internal investigation protocols, and record keeping.

De-escalation

December 19, 2020

This two-part story from Arnold Ventures, here and here, describes the development of the ICAT (Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics) model and de-escalation training. Initiated in 2014, it was controversial and strongly resisted at first, but since then has been widely adopted and found to be effective. The two-part series includes testimonials from officers in several departments who acknowledge they were skeptical at first but discovered that the training was realistic and practical, and who have since been able to apply it in the field.

Black chiefs squeezed from all sides

September 14, 2020

Particularly in these times, Black police chiefs have to walk a complicated tightrope, as reported here. Black women chiefs recently announced resignations in Seattle and Dallas and the Black chief in Rochester, NY resigned along with his entire command staff. One chief described the challenge of trying to please his bosses in city government, officers in the department, and the community, all of whom are suspicious and jealous of each other. Black chiefs have the added burden of being expected to solve longstanding race issues in short order. The chief in Phoenix cites the importance of years of having shown up for painful conversations in her city, allowing her to say “I’m true to blue, I’m true to Black, it’s time for us to roll up our sleeves and really take care of the police reform issues that need to be taken care of.”