Memphis Data Analysis Gets Credit For Much Of 29% Crime Drop


The Memphis Police Blue CRUSH (Crime Reduction Utilizing Statistical History) initiative uses a daily analysis of computer data to define crime “hot spots” so supervisors know exactly where to put manpower, Police Director Larry Godwin told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Godwin teamed with University of Memphis criminologist Richard Janikowski to develop Blue CRUSH. Godwin believes the innovative business model has played a key role in reducing crime. He also points to organizational changes, including sending officers deep under cover to infiltrate gangs and drug rings; creating a felony assault unit to investigate shootings, stabbings and severe beatings; and getting officers reliable equipment.

The city had 28.8 percent fewer reported crimes during the first six months of 2010, compared with the same period when the program went citywide in 2006. Overall crime dipped from 33,160 reported incidents to 23,598. The city also had 28.9 percent fewer violent crimes and 28.8 percent fewer property crimes. The downward trend is continuing this year compared with last year, with a 14 percent decrease in overall crime from Jan. 1 to Aug. 19. Godwin also credits the drop to an emphasis on accountability from the command staff down to each officer on the street. Instead of monthly gatherings, he holds weekly meetings where the commanders must answer for crime in their areas. Tillman Station’s commander, Col. Jeff Clark, wakes up early and pecks on his BlackBerry to search for his precinct’s crime du jour. On Tuesday, his officers knew they had a problem with daytime residential burglaries and they knew which neighborhoods were being targeted. “Blue CRUSH is about putting police in the right place on the right day at the right time and you’ll either prevent crime or catch someone committing a crime,” Janikowski said.

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