Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Headed home

I'm still in Washington, D.C.. The panel presentation about the use of police data to inform broader public policy seemed to go quite well. One of my fellow panelists, Michele Hummer from the Knoxville, TN Central Business District Improvement District, gave her presentation about the efforts to ameliorate problems in downtown Knoxville. She described the same kind of problems we deal with in downtown Lincoln, and Knoxville's efforts to deal with the issue.

Tuesday afternoon, I attended a very interesting breakout session on Geography, neighborhoods, and crime. Dr. David Weisburd made a strong case for changing the police focus from offenders to places, and implementing prevention strategies that are more effective than the normal kind of offender-based strategies police agencies generally focus on. He was speaking my language. Identify specific places that are problematic, engage in strategies to impact those locations, and you can have a huge impact on crime and disorder.

Later, I attended an interesting panel discussion called Taking the Information Highway Beyond the Next Interchange. It concerned using the Internet to advance community policing and problem solving. One of the presenters, Dr. Gary Cordner, used The Chief's Corner as one of his examples of interesting ways police are using the Internet to engage the community. I was intrigued by presentations during this panel by Dr. Dennis Rosenbaum on web-based surveys--a similar theme to our long-standing Quality Service Audit--and by a third panelist, Lawrence Green, who manages a Yahoo group connecting citizens to Oakland, CA police officers. Oakland has some pretty significant problems, and police officers in Oakland deal with some pretty challenging events.

I'll hit a couple more morning sessions, before heading home this afternoon. As usual, I learned a lot more than I imparted.


Anonymous said...

Next year, perhaps you could do a presentation, titled "How to Use the Internet to Bypass Your Crummy Local Media's Editorial Policies and Talk Directly to the Citizens".

On that note, do you think that LPD could online-release the raw form of their press briefings, rather that making people buy the shabby paper or watch a hacky news show, only to get the redacted versions? In other words, we'd much rather listen to the engineer than the oil rag.

-js- said...

Where does Lt. Green draw the not-so-clear line between information that should be released and the details he would like to keep out of the local media's hands?

Anonymous said...

I agree. This would give a bit more info. Suspect descriptions, vehicles used, or seen in the area ect. Also the at large population is not regulars like most of us pizza and beer drinking internet addicts, (burp)..thank you.,,,phewww that felt good.

Anonymous said...

From your PP - what are the red dots on the last map?

Did that have to do with # of police calls to an address?

Anonymous said...

So you learned more than you imparted.
No one is surprised by that. And it seems you usally forget it all before you get back home, too. Needless to say more tax money has been wasted.

Tom Casady said...


Those red graduated symbols are the locations of ten or more police dispatches to a single address during 2007. The larger the symbol, the more dispatches.

Tom Casady said...


Don't know, and that's a very good question. I didn't get a chance to ask or to talk with him afterwards. It's a subscription-only email group, so I suppose that provides a little control over things. Nonetheless, I think you would have to moderate the posts, to avoid milk being spilled.

He started this in 2003, so I can't imagine in a City of Oakland's size and crime rate that these issues haven't come up from time to time. I've had a few on The Chief's Corner.

Anonymous said...

I've had a few on The Chief's Corner.

Ive had a FEW WHAT?

Tom Casady said...


...a few of the kinds of situations -js- is referring to above: details about cases being discussed on an Internet forum (such as Lt. Green's Yahoo group, or The Chief's Corner) which the police would rather not discuss, because it might jeopardize the case.

Anonymous said...

While there are details that should not be released to the news media, there should never be any information released to the media, but not to the general public.

This is effectively what often happens with suspect descriptions when they are filtered through the Urinal-Jar, er I mean the Journal-Star. You release the at-large suspects' descriptions to the fishwrap, and then they delete one part of those descriptions, more often than not, before they publish those descriptions for the unwashed masses. In contrast, KOLN does not hamstring the same suspect descriptions.