So I was listening to NPR yesterday and heard a pretty interesting tidbit. They had signed a federal consent decree due to a rash of complaints regarding policing methods and had been seeing a steady uptick in violent crime until the federal oversight recommendations were implemented. Then last year, in 2016, they saw a massive drop in violent crime, while seeing a 35% drop in complaints from their citizens.
There were several things about the program that caught my ear which was centered on how the new AG, Jeff Sessions, is planning to revise or eliminate this type of federal oversight (which actually seems to have been working in more than just Newark), but the quote from the subject line caught my ear in particular. “Believe it or not, we had less guns taken off the street but a bigger crime reduction in violence.”
So why is it important to unpack this a bit? The Newark PD implemented a number of things in the last year that have had a positive impact. Body Cameras, more time on the streets, transparency in stops and arrests, etc. Oh, and they re-instituted a program that got cut in 2010 due to budget cuts- that one that engages local citizens and clergy from various faiths to get out in the neighborhoods and meet with folks. Block watches. Police commanders meeting with the locals. Training citizens and police officers together on violence prevention methods rather than just “getting tough on crime”.
And guess what. It made a difference. A 13% overall drop in crime. Because they “We went after the people that we knew that were the hardcore criminals…”
Now if we could just get them to work on the why as well as changing their methods, we could see an even larger drop.