Monday, June 10, 2013

Hotspot Policing Efforts Trending in the Desired Direction

Forty-one homicides have been committed this year. Until this past weekend, two of the four designated hotspot areas were homicide free so far this year. One hotspot area remains void of homicides. The year-to-date homicide total is at a five-year low (2009 - 50, 2010 - 47, 2011 - 42 and 2012 - 45). While the numbers deserve no premature celebration, they most certainly deserve sharing to communicate the positive decline in the reduction in the total loss of lives in our community.

Within three days of my appointment to Chief on October 13, 2011, I implemented hotspot policing to address violent crime by identifying and apprehending offenders as well as to build relationships in the community.

Violent crime reduction is not solely the role of the police. As I travelled around the neighborhoods over the past few months I felt a sense of community as it relates to relationships between the police and other segments of the public. Initially, opponents of the hotspot policing concept peppered me with questions. Questions centered on the likelihood of success, reassignment of resources that might negatively impact the workload in other critical areas, the lack of buy-in from police officers and questions about how success would be measured. With dedicated and committed police personnel, along with other segments of the community, we are making a positive difference in the lives of all we serve. Dedicated patrol officers, detectives and commanders, in cooperation with other segments of the community, are certainly making a difference. This difference is not solely being measured in numbers, but in relationships built on mutual respect and cooperation.

For years I have monitored the homicide rates in the greater metropolitan area. Certain periods of monitoring have evoked varying degrees of emotions, mostly feelings of sadness for the family and friends of the victims. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the death or the lifestyle of the victim, there has never been a moment when I have believed that a single victim had no value. Let us keep in mind that we all should be concerned about the well being of others because we are all in this together!

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