Below is a list of some projects that have been undertaken at the Police Foundation.
An Assessment of the Preparedness of Private Security in Shopping Malls to Prevent and Respond to Terrorist Attack
Since the events of September 11, 2001, security concerns have figured prominently in the national agenda. Government officials and the public now recognize a wider array of potential terrorist targets extending beyond military installations. These “soft targets”, or areas with public access, include transit hubs, schools, hospitals, and mass private spaces like amusement parks and sports arenas.
One type of soft target that has received too little attention is the retail mall. With all the other soft targets that exist, why should citizens be concerned about attacks against shopping malls? One reason is that the nature of malls makes them very vulnerable: there are multiple entrances and exits, and they are open to the public. Large numbers of people come and go, making it easy for potential terrorists to blend in unnoticed. Many of the visitors carry large parcels that could hide a bomb or other weapon. There are multiple ways to attack a mall, ranging from automatic weapons to car bombs to bombs placed inside the mall, even to an attack using a biological or chemical agent.
Moreover, the consequences of an attack could be quite serious. In the case of an attack using a biological or chemical agent, or a bomb blast resulting in structural collapse, the casualties could be very high. An attack could also produce insurance and job losses. A coordinated series of attacks against malls would almost certainly result in long-term lost business and serious regional or national economic consequences, as we saw in the airline industry following 9/11.
For the most part, malls and other soft targets that are part of our homeland security concerns are protected, not by public police, but by private security. Thus, the events of 9/11 thrust private security officers into a new and important role.
The Police Foundation, in cooperation with the Vera Institute of Justice, the ASIS International Foundation, Midwest Research Institute, and researchers at the University of Eastern Kentucky and Carlton University undertook an assessment of the level of security in large enclosed shopping malls as well as the associated issues of training and legislation of private security forces. The core issue we address in this report is the degree to which malls have become better prepared to respond to terrorist attacks in the aftermath of 9/11.
The investigation we conducted went well beyond earlier surveys conducted after 9/11. It included surveys with 33 state homeland security advisors to get their views on mall preparedness as well as surveys with 120 security directors of the nation’s largest indoor retail malls. We conducted site visits to eight U.S. malls and two Israeli malls to gain greater insight into how they are dealing with security preparedness and response to disasters. We conducted a state-by-state analysis of legislation regulating the hiring and training of private security.
The detailed assessment indicates what malls are doing in the areas of risk assessments, preventive measures, emergency preparedness plans, training, and coordination with state and local government. The comprehensive picture that emerges of the state of security in large retail malls suggests that (a) there are significant gaps in preparedness, (b) there are relatively inexpensive steps that can be taken to fill those gaps, and (c) state homeland security officials and local police as well as mall owners and have a role to play in filling those gaps.
Bringing the Crime Victim into Community Policing
Community policing emphasizes the importance of partnerships and problem solving. However, typically partnerships and problem solving do not involve victims of crime. Recognizing the potential for crime victims to strengthen crime prevention and problem solving efforts in community policing, this project sought to develop models for integrating crime victims and victims' organizations into community policing activities. Project activities included: (1) establishing a baseline of current practices regarding the involvement of victims and victims' organizations in community policing; and (2) identifying promising policies and practices involving victims and victims' organizations in crime prevention and problem-solving efforts in community policing.
To illustrate the role that victims and victim organizations can play, we developed a set of tools designed to help police organizations prevent repeat victimization and respond effectively to victims of crime. The model policy on preventing repeat victimization provides a blueprint for how police organizations could begin to integrate the prevention of repeat victimization into general operations. The guide to first response recommends a collaborative problem-solving approach between police and victims, and then illustrates how that approach can be used in response to domestic violence, residential burglary, and automobile theft.
Police departments across the country have turned their attention to Compstat as an innovation in police management that combines state-of-the-art management principles with cutting edge crime analysis and geographic information systems technology. Compstat (computer comparison statistics), a management system initiated in the New York City Police Department, was implemented as a measure to control crime and improve the quality of life in that city. In the years since its appearance, its popularity among police and policy makers suggests that it is becoming the model of what it means to be a progressively managed department. Compstat programs have received national publicity and have been credited with impressive reductions in crime and improvements in neighborhood quality of life.
We identify a number of elements that full implementation of Compstat demands: mission clarification; geographic organization of operational command; data-driven analysis of problems and assessment of the department’s problem-solving efforts; effective problem-solving tactics; organizational flexibility; internal accountability; and external accountability. Little is known about whether and to what extent departments are implementing these elements of Compstat or whether new varieties of the program are evolving.
This study provides a systematic exploration and assessment of the adoption and adaptation of Compstat and strategic problem solving in police agencies across the country. It addresses five primary groups of research concerns:
(1) How widely diffused is Compstat and strategic problem solving as an American policing strategy? How quickly have Compstat-like programs diffused onto the American police scene?
(2) What are the types of Compstat-like programs that have developed? What elements of strategic problem solving do they stress? Do agencies that introduce Compstat or Compstat-like programs share similar goals and aspirations?
(3) What has attracted police executives to consider and adopt Compstat or Compstat-like programs? How have departments learned about it and why have they adopted it?
(4) What special challenges does Compstat present for police organizations? What are police departments engaged in Compstat doing to try to deal with these challenges?
(5) What special problems exist for the implementation of data and technology and for their integration with problem solving? Can data be collected? Can technology be integrated? Are problem-solving strategies implemented, and at what depth?
Our study was designed to address these research concerns using three research methods which were undertaken sequentially: (1) a national survey of local police agencies; (2) site visits at up to 15 departments; and (3) process evaluation at three sites. These techniques provide three layers of analysis: (1) a broad-based understanding of the diffusion of Compstat in American policing; (2) a richer sense of the varieties of Compstat programs and the extent of implementation; and (3) in-depth knowledge of the most successfully implemented models and their ramifications at all levels of the organizations in which they operate.
Three reports were published from the larger study:
Compstat and Organizational Change in the Lowell Police Department: Challenges and Opportunities provides a detailed description of Lowell’s Compstat program.
The Growth of Compstat in American Policing describes the national survey that assessed the number of U.S. police agencies using Compstat and measured the degree to which the elements of Compstat were part of their routine and structure.
Compstat in Practice: An In-Depth Analysis of Three Cities explores the relationship between the theory and practice of Compstat in three police departments of different size, organizational structure, and crime environment. It shows how police managers and officers adapted their routine tasks and activities to Compstat’s focus on accountability, innovative problem solving, and crime fighting. The challenges they faced in doing so reflected the culture of the individual department, the availability of resources for personnel, the sophistication of technology, and management’s commitment to the program. The distinct experiences of the three departments—Lowell, MA; Minneapolis, MN; and Newark, NJ— reveal Compstat’s complexities, highlight its contributions, and provide some insights into the direction it is leading U.S. policing.
The Course of Domestic Abuse Among Chicago's Elderly: Risk Factors, Protective Behaviors, and Police Intervention
The growing body of elder abuse research reflects the increasing attention paid to this serious problem and emphasizes the need for effective prevention and intervention strategies. While past research has examined risk factors and protective behaviors associated with abuse, studies have generally not examined either the course of abuse over time or the effectiveness of different intervention strategies.
Despite the fact that the police have increasingly become involved in matters of domestic abuse against the elderly, the impact of their involvement has not been assessed. This study examines if and how risk factors and protective behaviors affect the course of abuse over time and the role of the police in intervening with elderly victims of domestic abuse and/or neglect. We also examine the prevalence rates for various types of abuse using a stratified sample of Chicago’s elderly population.
Our sample consisted of 1,795 elderly residents for whom we could identify victimization status. In-depth interviews were conducted with 328 elderly residents from three sample groups: (1) community non-victims (n = 159); (2) community victims (n = 121); and (3) a police sample consisting of elderly victims who had been visited by trained domestic violence/senior citizen victimization officers in the Chicago Police Department (n = 48). Participants in the three groups were current residents of Chicago, aged 60 and over. We conducted phone interviews using a survey instrument designed to assess victimization. The survey included questions about various characteristics and risk factors associated both with victims and perpetrators of abuse and/or neglect, specific types of abuse, and protective behaviors of victims. Victimization was examined twice over a ten-month period to evaluate the course of abuse over time. The efficacy of police intervention was also examined. Prevalence rates for our sample were similar to those found in other studies of elder abuse.
In examining the course of abuse, we found that victims from the police sample were more likely to have at least one incident of subsequent abuse than were those from the community sample. However, for those in the police sample, the number of forms of abuse that occurred repeatedly (> 10 times) went down. In addition, those in the police sample were more likely to have engaged in protective behaviors or service seeking than those in the community sample. These findings suggest that intervention by officers trained to deal with the elderly and/or domestic abuse victims can lead to increased engagement in protective behaviors and ultimately reductions in the number of frequently occurring forms of abuse. Implications for the law enforcement community’s response to elder abuse victimization as well as limitations of the study are discussed.
The goal of this project was to develop and test a model protocol to guide law enforcement responses to stalking based on community policing. The objectives were: (1) to promote a strategic approach that encourages early intervention; (2) to broadly define the roles of functional areas within police departments, including 911 operators, patrol, and investigative units; (3) to present guidelines for developing and participating in a coordinated community response; and (4) to encourage the use of collaborative problem-solving techniques.
The COMPASS model (Community Mapping, Planning, and Analysis for Safety Strategies), developed by the National Institute of Justice, offers a method for aiding police agencies in the development of more sophisticated and successful problem oriented policing models. COMPASS encourages the harnessing of data, knowledge, and skills in police agencies through the creation of partnerships with researchers and other relevant members of the COMPASS consortium.
The Police Foundation served as the research partner for the COMPASS program in East Valley, California, from May 2002 through July 2004. The major focuses of the East Valley COMPASS initiative–regional data sharing and problem solving–were to be facilitated by a partnership of police and other agencies (e.g., probation and parole, United Way, school districts, hospitals, etc.) in seven jurisdictions in the East Valley–Redlands, Fontana, Colton, Rialto, City of San Bernardino, Highland, and Yucaipa. The main difference between East Valley COMPASS and other COMPASS projects was that seven jurisdictions, instead of just one, would contribute data and be part of the problem-solving partnership. This initiative called for the collaboration of not only police and sheriff departments, but also local governments, healthcare providers, institutions of higher learning, and the private sector.
The focus of our evaluation was developing technology through which regional data sharing could take place among partner agencies, among police and non-police partner agencies, and between partner agencies and the public, and to use these data to conduct regional problem solving. In considering a regional data-sharing effort, one should consider two separate but important areas: technology and the human factor. The human factor will be more difficult to overcome. Some observations from our evaluation follow:
- In a regional data-sharing effort, reconciling data issues and creating technology will require more time and resources than expected. It is recommended that partner agencies have external staff that is specifically trained in program management, data, and technology, so they will have the knowledge, time, and motivation to complete the necessary regional tasks.
- To overcome the lack of trust of an external staff by police and city agencies, external staff can monitor and facilitate regional efforts but they should not layer themselves on top of the partner agencies, but insert themselves into the working process regionally.
- To overcome concerns of privacy and confidentiality, the effort should begin with data sharing (protected) among the partners. Once this is successful, then move to sharing data with the public. Doing this will ensure more participation by the police agencies than if done in the inverse.
- To overcome political divisions and possible mistrust between police and non-police participants, data-sharing efforts should focus on a specific problem or issue and not "share data just to share it."
- In order to overcome communication issues between participating individuals and their agencies, letters of understanding can be used. Letters are different from memoranda in that they are voluntary and provide confidence and trust instead of making sharing mandatory.
Our study points to more fundamental limitations of regional data-sharing development for regional problem solving. Problems in many communities are simply local phenomena that may not be aided by a regional approach. Consequently, the development of a data system for regional problem solving ignores the specific nature of problems and the practical barriers inherent to accessing diverse databases. Regional data sharing is important, but may be better tailored toward sharing data for short-term tactical purposes (e.g., pattern analysis) or for simply identifying problems, the first step in the problem-solving process, regionally.
See The Limits of Regional Data Sharing and Regional Problem Solving Observations From the East Valley, CA COMPASS Initiative, Rachel Boba, David Weisburd, and James W. Meeker, Police Quarterly, March 2009 vol. 12 no. 1 22-41. http://pqx.sagepub.com/content/12/1/22.abstract
Measuring Displacement and Diffusion
Recent studies point to the potential theoretical and practical benefits of focusing police resources on crime hot spots. However, many scholars have noted that such approaches risk displacing crime or disorder to other places where programs are not in place. Although much attention has been paid to the idea of displacement, methodological problems associated with measuring it have often been overlooked. We try to fill these gaps in measurement and understanding of displacement and the related phenomenon of diffusion of crime control benefits. Our main focus is on immediate spatial displacement or diffusion of crime to areas near the targeted sites of an intervention.
Do focused crime prevention efforts at places simply result in a movement of offenders to areas nearby targeted sites—do they simply move crime around the corner? Or, conversely, will a crime prevention effort focusing on specific places lead to improvement in areas nearby—what has come to be termed a diffusion of crime control benefits? Our data are drawn from a controlled study of displacement and diffusion in Jersey City, New Jersey. Our findings indicate that, at least for crime markets involving drugs and prostitution, crime does not simply move around the corner. Indeed, this study supports the position that the most likely outcome of such focused crime prevention efforts is a diffusion of crime control benefits to nearby areas.
Preventing Repeat Incidents of Family Violence: A Randomized Field Test of a Second Responder Program in Redlands, California
Recent evaluations of “second response” programs for domestic violence victims have cast doubt on their effectiveness. These programs are designed to educate and empower victims who have reported incidents of domestic abuse to the police. The program model involves a social worker or specially trained domestic violence police officer going to the homes of victims who have reported domestic abuse some time after the initial patrol response to the call for service. The second responder talks with victims about the nature of domestic violence, helps them develop a safety plan, and informs them about help available for counseling needs, relocation, civil legal assistance, restraining orders, and other social services.
This field test, conducted with the cooperation of the Redlands, CA, Police Department, sought to vary one of the parameters thought to affect the impact of second response programs. Victims who called the Redlands police with a domestic abuse complaint were randomly assigned (a) to receive a second response within 24 hours, (b) to receive a second response within seven days, or (c) to receive no second response. A check of police records and surveys with victims six months after the initial complaint was called did not indicate any reduction in new abuse resulting from any second response condition. The current findings, coupled with earlier research results, strongly suggest that second response programs are at best ineffective in reducing the potential for new abuse and at worst may increase the likelihood of new abusive incidents. Implications for criminal justice policy are discussed.
This study's primary purpose was an evaluation of the Richmond, Virginia, Second Responders Program, a collaborative effort of the Richmond Department of Social Services and the Richmond Police Department. The program involved the introduction of social workers, based in the police precincts, to scenes of domestic violence to which police had responded, while the police were still on site. We also examined the researcher/practitioner partnership whose primary members were the Police Foundation, the Richmond Department of Social Services and the Richmond Police Department, with a view to contributing to our knowledge of this model.
The Second Responders experiment suggests that police perform better or are perceived to perform better in domestic violence situations when social service workers are present, and that women victims of domestic violence who receive an immediate social service response at the time of the incident may experience reduced incidence and prevalence of domestic violence.
Risk-Focused Policing at Places: An Experimental Evaluation of the Communities that Care Program in Redlands, California
Drawing upon the risk and protective factors model and suggestions regarding the importance of places for understanding and targeting juvenile delinquency, the Redlands Police Department has developed a risk-focused policing approach to places (RFPP). Specifically, the Communities that Care Program (CTC) in Redlands used the risk and protective model developed by Hawkins and Catalano to identify census block groups where the risk of juvenile delinquency was high. The Redlands Police Department employed a problem-oriented policing approach to develop and implement strategies to reduce risk factors in these areas and reinforce protective factors. The program was aided by sophisticated crime mapping tools, which allowed the police department to draw from multiple data sources in defining the places for intervention, in analyzing problems, and in developing innovative solutions.
The Redlands Police Department implemented the program under experimental conditions for approximately two years. We used a matched block randomized experimental design to evaluate the effects of the Redlands RFPP approach on the reduction of delinquency and crime among 26 census block groups in the Redlands area. We used the CTC survey to assess baseline measures of risk and protective factors associated with delinquency in the summer of 2001, and post-treatment measures were taken during the summer of 2003.
Throughout the intervention period, the Redlands Police Department developed and implemented community- and problem-oriented policing strategies in the thirteen block groups that were randomly assigned to the treatment condition. Innovative treatments directed at juveniles were not administered to the thirteen control block groups. Using a hierarchical linear modeling approach, our experimental data suggest that the risk-focused policing program in Redlands did not consistently reduce problematic behavior or impact upon student perceptions of risk and protective factors. We also do not find a statistically significant impact upon student perceptions of legitimacy of police actions, though juveniles overall in Redlands had strongly positive attitudes toward the police.
Our findings appear to contradict recent reviews of police intervention at problem places, which have shown overall strong crime prevention benefits. There are a number of factors that might have led to the disappointing outcomes of the evaluation, including the level of geographic focus of the project and the nature of the interventions that characterized the treatment. We conclude that risk-focused policing at places should be focused on more micro units of place and have greater fit between problems and treatments if it is to have strong programmatic outcomes.