Thursday, September 27, 2007

Unbelievable headline

There's no place like home, and I'm happy to be back in Lincoln this morning. My presentation at the Problem-Oriented Policing Conference concerning strategies to reduce high-risk drinking by college-aged young people included a section on the off-campus party scene. We've had a methodical approach to this that has yielded some significant results.

In preparation for the presentation, I gathered some data last week about the number of complaints received from the public concerning party disturbances. We have a specific incident code for these calls: 12311 DISTRUBANCE-WILD PARTY. Here's a slide with the results from my PowerPoint:

A reduction of 35 complaints per month is nothing to scoff at. I would estimate that the average party complaint requires just over two officers for the response. These calls often result in citations, reports, court appearances, and a fair number of complaints to Internal Affairs or the Citizen Police Advisory Board. Cutting 35 of those per month not only relieves some of the heartburn for residents in these neighborhoods, it saves police officers a significant amount of work, too. Although these data are not specific to college-aged young people, many of our party complaints come from neighborhoods where there are lots of rentals and a large proportion of tenants in the 20-25 age bracket.

There are a number of indicators that our strategies have helped, including survey research data from the University of Nebraska's Omnibus Survey, police complaint and incident data, data on the number of arrests and citations for such offenses as maintaining a disorderly house or minor in possession of alcohol. Here, however, is the anecdotal evidence that there has been a shift, however slight, in attitudes about the propriety of inviting a couple hundred friends over to share a few kegs in your tiny two-bedroom one-toilet rental on New Hampshire Street: an unbelievable headline. I doubt our colleagues in Madison have seen anything like that in the Wisconsin State Journal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well I for one am pleased that we are taking less party calls. They are a pain.