Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

Long-term drop in solving rape cases

December 28, 2018

This article reviews the national clearance rate for rape, which has dropped from 62% in 1964 to 32% in 2017. Some of the decline is probably due to increased reporting by victims and more complete recording by police. Also, the FBI definition was expanded in 2013 and, most recently, #MeToo has caused a surge in reporting, straining investigative staff in many agencies. DNA and other forensic impovements should help solve cases, but many still boil down to he-said/she-said over the question of consent.

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Reducing car-bicycle crashes

November 20, 2018

This article reports early results from a NHTSA traffic safety initiative in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The city has adopted a 5-foot rule for cars passing bicycles, has 83% compliance according to radar devices attached to bikes, and has had a 30% decrease in collisions. The main emphasis is on educating drivers — police have made 146 stops but issued only 3 citations. Knoxville, Tennessee is currently doing a similar study using a 3-foot rule.

Michigan lacks standards for volunteer police

October 25, 2018

This article reports that there are about 3,000 armed reserve officers and deputies serving agencies throughout Michigan. Some departments impose hiring and training requirements but the state has thus far failed to establish minimum standards, despite legislation authorizing its POST to do so. Nationally, California and Nevada are among states with established standards for volunteer officers, but others haven’t acted.

Tracking public sentiment

September 30, 2018

More police departments are beginning to measure public sentiment (trust and confidence) on a regular basis, thanks to enhanced survey techniques that use texting, smartphones, and other cheap and convenient methods. This article reports from Grand Rapids, Michigan where the PD has starting tracking sentiment on a monthly basis. So far the results have been favorable and steady, although the temptation to react to small fluctuations may be hard to resist.

Looking back at the Boston miracle

September 28, 2018

Here’s an informative video that details the original Operation Ceasefire in Boston that helped reduce homicides by 80%. The approach that was developed involved police, probation, clergy, social services, and prosecution. David Kennedy observes that it’s actually easy to implement, but difficult to sustain. According to one pastor, “The miracle was not that the crime rate went down, but that adults figured out how to collaborate in the interests of young people.”

Vacant lots & abandoned buildings

August 24, 2018

This article reports efforts in various cities to reduce crime by focusing on places, especially vacant lots and abandoned buildings. The approach follows the same logic as broken windows theory, but emphasizes improving the physical environment rather than police action. A Philadelphia experiment resulted in a 39% reduction in gun violence in and around remediated abandoned buildings and a small decrease for fixed-up vacant lots, with no evidence of displacement and impacts lasting 1-4 years.

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.

Prevalence of police in schools varies

July 12, 2018

This article reviews data on police assigned to schools. Two-thirds of high school students attend a school that has an officer assigned, compared to 45% for middle school and 19% for elementary school. School officers are most common in Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and North Carolina, least common in New York, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Iowa, and Michigan. The evidence on the impact of officers in schools on arrests, offenses, and student behavior is mixed and inconclusive.

Busy streets in Flint

June 19, 2018

This article describes a neighborhood initiative in Flint, Michigan credited with achieving substantial reductions in crime and disorder over the period 2012-2017. A broad collaboration between residents and various partners, the emphasis was on community empowerment much more than police enforcement.

Adopt-a-cop

June 11, 2018

This article describes the Adopt-a-Cop program in Brookhaven, Georgia in which officers can sign up to be paired with a local Catholic family that prays for their safety. The sergeant who implemented the program wasn’t sure that many officers would be interested, but it has become popular and some have established strong relationships with their “adopted” families. Nationally (and internationally) there are 70 chapters of the program first started in Michigan in 1998.