Police focus on high-crime areas
EVERETT - People should start noticing a much larger police presence in some parts of town under a strategy being implemented by the Everett Police Department.
The Police Department is adopting a nationally recognized crime-fighting strategy called Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS).
The model identifies three to four high-crime areas and floods them with police officers, Deputy Chief Dan Templeman said last week.
The department’s goal is to reduce Everett’s overall crime rate and number of traffic collisions through better management of its officers.
Traffic enforcement is part of the strategy because criminals drive cars, Templeman said.
The department has no set benchmarks for determining the program’s success, Templeman said. The model, though, has been shown to successfully reduce crime in places such as Baltimore County, Md., and Nashville, Tenn. The department is unaware of DDACTS being used anywhere else in Western Washington.
The department declined to specify which neighborhoods this new crime-fighting program is being implemented because the target areas will regularly move depending on the data. There will be one target zone in north Everett and one in south Everett, Police Department spokesman officer Aaron Snell said.
High-crime neighborhoods will see more officers patrolling the streets under the DDACTS strategy, while other neighborhoods will see fewer officers, Templeman told the Council of Neighborhoods late last month.
Leaders from Everett’s 19 neighborhoods were receptive to the idea.
“As opposed to just throwing darts at the problem and seeing what sticks, I think this is a good idea for the police department to concentrate their efforts on certain areas that have a tendency to see more crime,” said Gary James, a representative of the Pinehurst/Beverly Park Neighborhood.
The department is deploying its existing roster of patrol officers into the targeted areas; it will not be putting more officers on the streets, Templeman said.
Skeptics may question how putting officers in one spot wouldn’t just push crime into less-patrolled areas, but the department said the DDACTS model works. If it doesn’t pan out, the department would consider modifying the model, Templeman said.
“While random patrols can be successful in reducing crime, it is our belief that directed patrols focusing on high crime and traffic collision locations is a much more effective use of our precious police resources,” Templeman said. “It is also shown that placing police resources in high-crime areas can be very successful in reducing overall crime.”
A newly hired second crime analyst is starting later this month to support the DDACTS strategy. The department is talking with its officers and looking to partner with neighborhoods to get input for identifying target patrol areas, Templeman said.
The department’s existing Burglary Reduction Team (BRT) initiative, which has arrested more than 100 burglary suspects since September, is contributing to the DDACTS effort.
“We want to focus our resources where they are needed. DDACTS is a forward thinking approach for law enforcement to utilize and overlap actual crime and traffic data to direct our officers where they are most needed,” Police Chief Kathy Atwood said.
DDACTS is recognized as effective by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Institute of Justice.
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