Tacoma police chief presents evidence-based strategic plan to reduce crime
TACOMA, Wash. - There will be higher visibility of officers throughout Tacoma to help crackdown on crime and violence.
It’s one of many strategies in Chief Avery Moore’s three-phase plan to reduce crime in the city. The leader of the Tacoma Police Department announced the plans during a city council study session, Tuesday.
The strategy is evidence-based and focuses the response to:
- Be problem-driven based on empirical analysis
- Incorporate previously discussed "prerequisites for success"
- Have measurable outcomes for success
Moore said crime is not random, but rather, it is highly concentrated in a small number of street segments.
"Typically it’s very determined, very precise and it’s based on a lot of different factors," said Moore. "The goal is to focus resources on the small number of places and people responsible for the majority of violence and tailor the strategies and tactics to address the problem."
He explained a small number of people disproportionately commits crime, with the most prolific 10% of offenders accounting for about 40% of crime. The chief said he does not want to "over police" by using a stop-and-frisk method or a zero-tolerance policy to crack down on offenders.
A focus in his new three-phase strategy is high visibility of officers in problems areas.
"This is about the behavior of certain people in the community. Hopefully through high visibility that will deter. But if that does not, there will be arrests made. There’s no way around it," said Moore. "My point is there is going to be an enforcement piece to this. How we make sure that we’re not enforcing in that zero tolerance perspective is making sure there’s clear expectations given."
Prior to leading Tacoma Police Department, Moore served on the Dallas Police Department as assistant chief of the Investigations Bureau. During his time there, he worked with two criminologists from the University of Texas-San Antonino to research where violent crimes were occurring and measures to reduce criminal activity. Moore has recruited the same criminologists to support his strategic plan in Tacoma.
"Once those geographical areas are identified through our analysis, we will have high visibility officers in those areas. The way it’s going to work is once we identify the times, the dates, etcetera, we’ll be able to be specific in how we deploy our resources to those specific areas," said Moore.
The chief said blight and abatement has a direct connection to crime in the city. Part of his plan is to also address those rundown properties.
"If you can change the optics of an environment that does have a direct impact on the crime in that area. So, I often think of the broken window theory—if you leave the window broken then you’ll find more windows are broken and you’ll see a deterioration. But if you immediately fix that window then it can go in the opposite direction," said Moore.
The police chief said he will also start conducting listening sessions throughout the community, approximately every week. He said it will be an opportunity to have conversations with businesses owners and residents about public safety. Moore said that information will help shape his strategic plan that he will be reevaluating every 90 days.
The city council study session, including Moore's presentation, is available to view here.
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