Wednesday, October 16, 2013

When and where

Dr. Joel Caplan, a professor at Rutgers, and assistant director of that university's Center on Public Security sent out a request on Sunday for "expert knowledge" concerning the spatial aspects of assaults on police officers. He and his colleagues intend to produce a bulletin containing this "crowdsourced" information.

I didn't have a lot of time to devote to this, but Tuesday morning, I produced a little analysis of our data in Lincoln on assaults of police officers, dating back to 2001. There have been 826 such assaults as of midnight Monday. A healthy percentage of these (18%) have occurred at a handful of institutions:

72 Cornhusker Place Inc. (detox center)
42 Bryan LGH Medical Center West
19 Lancaster County Jail
7   Group hope for teenage runaways
6   Hall of Justice/Law Enforcement Center

Another 60 assaults occurred within two blocks of 14th and O Streets--the bar district in Lincoln that caters predominantly to the young drinking crowd.

We collect a two-digit location code on all crime reports, that describes the type of premise. Here are the premise types with 10 or more assaults:

181 Street
75   Correctional institution or treatment center
96   Apartments with 7+ units
74   Single family residences
64   Sidewalk
46   Hospital
30   Alley
30   Duplex
22   Tavern/bar
17   Public high school
16   Apartments with 3-6 units
11   Grocery store
11   Restaurant
10   County-City Building complex

There is not only a strong spatial pattern in assaults, but a very strong temporal pattern as well. From the map and the chart below, I think we can safely conclude that alcohol contributes markedly to the risk of a police officer being assaulted (click to enlarge).


Anonymous said...

I'd like to see that camera at 14th & O turned in, and the live feed made public on the internet. I don't think a lot of people are fully aware of what bar break is like down there, and actually seeing it every night would be a good education. However, political courage is sorely lacking when it comes to that camera.

Anonymous said...

Here is an example of the frame rate and resolution that would do justice to that aforementioned feed.

Anonymous said...

"74 Single family residences"

Here are a few questions for which it might be too much work to dig up the answers:

Of those 74, how many residences were renter-occupied, and how many were owner-occupied?

Out of the renter-occupied assault locations, how many were at Lincoln Housing Authority properties? How many were at other non-LHA but otherwise subsidized-rent (to any degree) properties?

Out of the assaults at owner-occupied properties, how many had the assault committed by one of the owners, and how many by non-owning children, relatives, or friends/exes of the owners?

Tom Casady said...


That is unknowable, without researching each one individually. Since crime generally is lower in census tracts with higher percentages of owner-occupied residences, I suspect that rentals would be over-represented among the locations of assault on police officers.

My personal W.A.G. is that LHA owned/subsidized properties are not particularly problematic compared to rentals generally. In my view, LHA is a good landlord, and does a nice job of both screening tenants and jumping on problems quickly.

What stands out in these data to me is the involvement of alcohol, and I think the kinds of rentals that would be likely to be rented by young problem drinkers would be the locus of the bulk of the assaults occurring at residential properties.

Anonymous said...

Here's a query for you. For years I have heard calls for service for domestic violence increase after a Nebraska Football loss.

True or not?

Tom Casady said...


Not. I think we debunked that myth a few years ago. Maybe more than once.

Anonymous said...

From anon 4:42:

Cool, thanks.