Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

Evolving police strategies

November 18, 2019

This 12-minute public radio segment reviews the re-invention of foot patrol, growing recognition that crime is concentrated in hot spots, and the current development of evidence-based policing, highlighting the significance of studies done in Kansas City, Newark, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia. “The tension between prevention and response is the fundamental issue,” according to Larry Sherman, adding “I think on a scale of 1 to 10, evidence-based policing in the U.S., in terms of practice, is about a 2.”

Ring doorbell cameras

August 30, 2019

The Ring doorbell-camera company has secured partnerships with 405 police agencies around the country, as reported here. Besides selling the devices to homeowners, the company provides a social media app that helps neighbors share information and videos with each other. The app also enables police to request video from Ring customers, and officers are encouraged to participate on the social media platform in order to raise public awareness and increase community vigilance. Critics worry about police seeming to endorse a commercial product, the expansion of surveillance, and the impact of bias on what residents perceive and report as suspicious behavior.

Reasonable and necessary

August 26, 2019

Effective January 1st, legislation in California will require that police use of deadly force be “necessary” as well as “reasonable,” as reported here. Police initially criticized the change but withdrew their opposition after securing some revised language in the law. Some observers say the impact of the new standard won’t be known until courts parse the meaning of “necessary,” while others think it will encourage better tactics and more emphasis on deescalation. Meanwhile, the police department in Camden, New Jersey has adopted a use of force policy that also incorporates “necessary,” stipulates that any use of force should be a “last resort,” and has the “sanctity of human life” at its core, as reported here.

Murder clearance rates have actually improved — with one big exception

January 26, 2019

This article analyzes city clearance rates for murders and shootings. One key finding is a drop from 65% to 42% since the 1980s in the clearance rate for black and Hispanic victims killed by guns — aside from this category, murder clearance rates have actually improved. Also, non-firearm homicides, which are more likely to yield DNA and other suspect evidence, are solved at higher rates regardless of victim characteristics. Solve rates for non-fatal shootings vary widely but tend to be well below those for murder, at least in part due to overwhelming caseloads.

Use of Force in New Jersey

December 1, 2018

News media in New Jersey obtained over 72,000 documents from the state’s 469 police departments for the years 2012-2016 to compile what it calls a “comprehensive statewide database of police use of force.” According to the authors, “No one has ever seen data like this in New Jersey. Not the attorney general, not county prosecutors and not local police departments. And that’s because, though it was available for the taking, no one ever collected and digitized it as originally envisioned, rendering it nearly useless.” Initial findings are available here, along with a searchable database, and  a series of articles are forthcoming.

Scoop and go

November 15, 2018

This article reports the common police practice in Philadelphia of “scoop and go” — immediately taking gunshot victims to the hospital in patrol cars, rather than waiting for an ambulance. Explaining it, a captain says “We don’t join the Police Department to watch people die.” Study results are mixed, but trauma surgeons say that seconds and minutes matter most in shootings, not any care that EMTs can provide along the way. Besides saving lives, the chief in nearby Camden adds “The streets are always watching. And they see your behavior, and actions speak far louder than words.”

Proactive non-enforcement in hot spots

September 29, 2018

This blog post summarizes a study of foot-patrol hot spot policing in Newark, New Jersey. Enforcement actions (arrests, stops, and summonses) did not result in violent crime decreases, but other forms of proactive policing were apparently more effective — collectively, increased citizen contacts, business checks, bus checks, and taxi inspections were associated with a drop of over 50% in violent crime in the target areas, with no evidence of displacement.

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.

Camden’s turn

August 20, 2018

Camden, New Jersey has made some remarkable changes in its police department since 2013 with substantial results in crime reduction, improved community relations, and a more positive police culture. A 28-minute video about the changes is available here. A companion publication from the COPS Office designed to facilitate law enforcement and community discussions is available here.

From trauma to trust

May 8, 2018

This article and short video report a project in Newark, NJ aimed at helping police and community understand each other better. Thus far, 117 officers and 163 community members have met in small groups to share the personal trauma they have experienced. The city’s police director says “Police have to put themselves in the residents’ shoes, the residents have to put themselves in the police shoes.”