Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Violence reduction network

The Violence Reduction Network (VRN) is a program of the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance which aims to provide training and technical assistance to some of the cities with the highest rates of violence in the United States. To date, ten cities have received this help, and for 2016 three additional cities have been added: St. Louis, New Orleans, and Milwaukee.

I was in Washington DC today, attending the spring VRN summit at the request of the Feds, to provide some support to New Orleans and Milwaukee on a topic near-and-dear to us in Lincoln: crime analysis. Just click the link to that tag in the label cloud on my blog, and you'll see that we do a lot of work in Lincoln guided by data and analysis. We've developed somewhat of a reputation, hence the invitation--even though I'm not so sure our experience with such things as party disturbances and garage burglaries translates entirely to such things as car jackings and muggings.

Rather than making a presentation, though, my colleague Dr. Noah Fritz from Tempe AZ and I tried to facilitate discussion. These two cities have a pretty clear idea of their problems, issues, and challenges. They don't need us to figure that out, but sometimes an outside facilitator can help in lubricating a productive and frank assessment of where we are, where we want to be, and what we need to do to get there.

I hope that was the case. It takes a certain amount of courage for the VRN cities to step forward and ask for federal assistance, and I applaud them for their efforts. I made good contacts with New Orleans and Milwaukee, and hope I can be of further help in their efforts to leverage data and analysis to guide police tactics and strategies to effectively deal with violence in their communities.


Steve said...

I'm a firm believer in the "nip it in the bud" philosophy, or as some call it, the "broken window" policy. If police keep a close eye on even minor violations of the law, it would go a long way toward reducing more serious violations. One thing I've noticed over the years of living in Lincoln is that one of the first signs of a neighborhood in decline is cars being parked on the grass in the front yard (which is illegal). More often than not, it isn't long before the for sale signs go up, the neighborhood becomes pretty much all rental property where no one cares about the litter, the noise, the parties, and soon after come the drugs and assaults and muggings and robberies and home invasions and murders.

I've also noticed over the years how much more bold (or stupid) drivers have become when it comes to running red lights. If we'd post some police at some major intersections and start ticketing everyone who goes through on a red, I think we'd see a dramatic reversal in this trend in no time, and perhaps save someone's life.

Anonymous said...

A good example of the "broken window" that is ignored in Lincoln is the practice of renting out single family housing to multiple renters. This is not fair to those that abide by the rules.
Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

According to the 2011 crash study commissioned by the city of Lincoln, the most common type of crash is a rear-end crash, and they are twice as common as right-angle (T-bone) crashes - which is how most crashes resulting from running a red light would be classified, right-angle. The report PDF is on the city web site, search for it.

How many people have been killed in the last 5 years as a result of someone running a red light, anyway? I'm just curious.