Denver is jump-starting an aggressive test of criminologist George Kelling’s crime-fighting theories in a step that could fundamentally change the way police in the city operate, reports the Rocky Mountain News. Two neighborhoods will get a taste of George Kelling’s “broken windows” policing, a combination of community-based enforcement and a low tolerance for even minor criminal behavior. The quick action is part of a six-month project by Kelling’s Hanover Justice Group, which promises to be short on written reports and long on specific street-level initiatives for Denver. Officers will concentrate on gathering real-time crime data, focusing on where crime is occurring and the career criminals behind much of it.
Citizens should expect to see more officers doing more than just answering 911 calls. Officers will also target graffiti removal, bulk garbage pickup and even street lighting. Community groups will be enlisted into the effort. Starting this month, district commanders will meet weekly with the chief and his top staff to pore over statistics and find strategies to combat crime trends, according to the mayor’s office. City Council Safety Committee Chairwoman Jeanne Faatz said that Hanover Justice Group personnel they seemed to emphasize that “people are asking too much of the police.” She added that Hanover staff members “stress the need to re-educate people as to when police should be coming” in response to calls. “I’m not sure you solve the problem by convincing people they don’t have a problem,” Faatz said.