Wednesday, November 25, 2009

LA take away

I have one more post about my side trip to Los Angeles late last week for an NIJ-sponsored meeting on predictive policing. One of the reasons the concepts of predictive policing are being widely adopted, even if the phrase itself does work its way into the lexicon, deals with the realities of municipal budgets. Virtually every city is dealing with a budget crises to one degree or another, and the consensus of opinion is that it is not just a short term issue: it is the new normal.

One of my fellow panelists in LA, San Francisco Chief George Gascon, described the conundrum. He pointed out that police and fire services are consuming an increasing percentage of the total municpal budget, while parks, pools, libraries, and other municipal services have been decimated. Strictly from a budgetary standpoint, we are becoming a police state. It is unsustainable in California. To a lesser extent, this is also true in Lincoln, where, despite our small size, the police department and fire department are becoming a larger wedge in the budget pie every year as the rest of municipal government shrinks. Chief Gascon opined that the use of analysis to better target resources is an imperative to keep the cost of policing at a level citizens are willing to support.

The good news here in Lincoln is that we are already doing an effective job of smart policing. We serve this City at a very low cost per capita, without sacrificing quality. Many police departments could learn a lot from our use of information, problem-oriented policing, prioritization, and prevention strategies as methods to maintain high productivity without breaking the municipal bank.

Last Thursday, the attendees at the predictive policing meeting toured LAPD’s new headquarters building, and their $107 million real-time crime center. The facilities are impressive, and the efforts underway to use analytics and information to improve police services are apparent. I came away, however, with a very positive feeling that even though we may not have the impressive video wall that LAPD’s RACR boasts, we take a back seat to no one in our ability to get actionable information into the hands of our personnel, and to work creatively to provide police services in an efficient and effective way. We should always, though, be on the lookout for ways to improve even further, and open to considering new ways of doing business.

9 comments:

Steve said...

Chief:

I got my Tundra back from the body shop. It looks nice, but it will never be the same. Too bad we can't Tivo life and just rewind a bit when necessary and do things over differently.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chief,

I enjoy the blog and especially the last couple of posts of new police tactics and such. I'm wondering if you could talk a little more about community policing and I also ran across this article the other day and thought it was pretty interesting, did you happen to see it? http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/24/us/24crime.html

Christopher said...

Conversely, though, I think reaping the efficiency benefits of predictive policing might involve an initial investment in software, training, and personnel. A private business would easily understand the concept that investing $10,000 now might save you $100,000 over the next four years, but I'm...pessimistic...about the efficacy of this argument with municipal government.

Anonymous said...

I always say that if the public would just learn to be proactive with their personal safety, property and other items in their life, We would see a dramatic reduction in crime. I do see a need for mentor programs to try to reduce crime but I think
a major step that is not being taught is victim education. What if
insurance companies required someone to take a lesson on crime
prevention before they could get auto, home and life insurance. They
might not leave that purse in their vehicle when working out at the gym etc. Are there any ideas to get education out there instead of just offering a lecture to people who volunteer. People are required to do many things before they can get what they want. It might reduce the insurance companies payouts. The problem would be getting all insurance

Steve said...

That's all we need, more people making money off of us to teach us things that are simple common sense so we can "save" money on our insurance premiums.

Anonymous said...

Do you ever do any real work, or do you just take trips all the time?

JIM J said...

Thank you to all the Officers who work this holiday. They have to see some family gatherings at their worst.
Here is a recipe for something I call an instant idiot.
1 Turkey.
3 to 5 family members.
Several servings of alcohol.
Mix well, pretend to like.
Instant idiot is done when drinking is continued for several hours.
Happy Holiday.

Atticus said...

This post and the last have some interesting ideas. I have some questions in my mind though. President Obama said that his budget stimulus would 'save or create' X number of jobs. How do you measure that? By the same token, if LPD uses statistical data to determine a specific area may be ripe for a drive-by and we allocate our resources to that area and a drive-by doesn't occur, how do we measure that lack of a drive-by? I know this is a very simplistic example. I also feel that when it comes time to determine city budgets, the police dept would be citing crimes that have been prevented and asking to keep their budget, and the City would be citing the lack of crime therefore the lack of need for more $.

Anonymous said...

This might be some of the best LA Take-Away.