PUTTING POLICE IN THE BOX: THE EFFECTIVENESS OF DATA-DRIVEN LAW ENFORCEMENT
Zempel, Kurt D.
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This field project conducts a program evaluation of the Sheboygan Police Department's implementation of the Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS) grant. The federally-funded DDACTS program engages analysis of crime and traffic data to identify "hot spot" areas with the highest occurrence of crime and traffic problems, which in turn drives the deployment of police resources in those areas for the greatest effect in improving the community's quality of life and reducing the social harm caused by criminal activity and traffic crashes. It funds additional saturation patrols to conduct high-visibility traffic enforcement to address both crime and traffic safety problems. The evaluation is an assessment of merit and worth, employing descriptive and causal inquiry methods to measure the outputs of additional police activity as well as program outcomes by comparing the effect of the grant-funded activity on reducing the occurrence of crashes and crimes. The evaluation also assesses the program's effectiveness on improving overall quality of life and reducing the fear of crime and perception of disorder for Sheboygan's residents by conducting a survey of the community's response to police enforcement activity in response to crime and traffic problems, voluntary compliance with traffic laws, and feelings of safety. It also evaluates the lasting effect of the program on the internal police culture through interviews with selected police administrators to determine whether it has brought about a broader use of data as a fundamental factor in the deployment of police resources. The evaluation concludes that the Sheboygan Police Department's experience with the DDACTS program has coincided with significant reductions in overall reported crimes and traffic crashes, particularly the opportunistic crimes of theft and burglary, where a specific deterrent effect was found for these crimes during months of DDACTS program activities. However, while the community survey indicates general public satisfaction with the department's tactics and evidence of program effect on the action outcome of safer driving behavior, the public's perception of crime and traffic safety conditions has not improved. The program is also found to have helped demonstrate the effectiveness of data-driven deployment and hotspot policing at the Sheboygan Police Department, where the program?s tactics have become an every-day part of the department's patrol strategy.
Prediction of criminal behavior
Geographic information systems
A Field Project Submitted In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Master of Public Administration