The “smart policing” program promoted by the U.S. Justice Department was given a boost this week in a new report from the Heritage Foundation. In a study written by former Attorney General Edwin Meese and John Malcolm, Heritage describes “smart policing” as “a strategic management approach that brings more science into police operations by leveraging innovative applications of research, analysis, technology, and evidence-based best practices.” Since it was launched in 2009, the model has been tested in 48 sites and has been reviewed in 59 independent assessments.
Heritage concludes that smart policing benefits communities “not only through cost savings, higher clearance rates, and crime prevention, but also through the promotion of collaboration, a sense of community, and economic development. Stable communities with low crime and high community-police teamwork attract economic investment and employment opportunities.” The report offers specifics from several cities, including Los Angeles, Kansas City, Boston, New Haven, Ct., and Rochester, N.Y. In Philadelphia, the report says, new foot patrol and problem-solving strategies in ten test police districts are outperforming the traditional style of policing that focuses on offenders. The changes resulted in a 22 percent reduction in violent crimes and a 31 percent reduction in violent street felonies.