Denver Decentralizing Police Authority Citywide


Denver police will overhaul their crime-fighting strategy within two weeks, giving district commanders new powers and responsibilities, concentrating on criminal hot spots, and revamping how the city analyzes data, reports the Rocky Mountain News. The department is taking parts of its recently launched experiment with community policing in two neighborhoods and spreading it citywide, about four months after hiring consultant George Kelling to look at the city’s declining arrest rate and increasing crime. Kelling said the new strategy will “decentralize” authority, moving Denver police away from a top- down military structure to a more professional model.

Residents of high-crime neighborhoods will see more blue uniforms and police cruisers, as the department responds to computer analysis of crime data. Whitman said the district commanders have had the power in the past, only now they’ll have more resources. The big change that starts April 6 will be in the way the city collects and handles crime data. There will be weekly meetings of commanders and the chiefs, instead of one a month. Kelling agrees that many factors are involved with implementing his “broken windows” anticrime strategy, but he promises that Denver also will see a crime reduction. Although “broken windows” is the policing term Kelling made famous, there are two other elements to the concept: use of data to spot crime trends and decentralized enforcement.


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