In the Los Angeles Police Department’s 62-square-mile Foothill Division, burglaries soared 93 percent in January and vehicle break-ins jumped 50 percent from last year. The Los Angeles Times says that Foothill cops didn’t circle the wagons or blame their troubles on understaffing (five patrol cars per shift covering an area larger than metropolitan Boston). A team of three officers took an analytical approach to the crime numbers and incorporated the analysis into a daily crime-fighting strategy. “To fight crime these days you can’t have 15 cops sitting around covering the four winds,” said Capt. Kirk Albanese said. “We have a focused, serious approach to crime fighting that’s as scientific as we can make it.”
Foothill used to wait as long as two weeks to discuss crime trends. Waiting for an overview rather than reacting immediately allowed criminals to claim more victims, officers said.
In mid-January, Assistant Chief George Gascon started daily conference calls with commanders of the four LAPD bureaus to discuss crime patterns citywide. The 18 police divisions in turn stepped up their analyses. The Foothill team started daily crime briefings to determine the who, what, when, where and why of crime for the preceding 24 hours. Officers map the crime data and boil down their analysis to nuggets identifying 24-hour trends.