How Denver Will Analyze Data to Prevent Crime

Denver’s public safety officials want to know what drives crime trends in neighborhoods and how to stop it from happening in the first place. They plan to dig into the nitty gritty data available through the U.S. Census Bureau and their own crime analytics to figure it out. Then, they want to recruit city agencies to help address the underlying issues.

Three-quarters of the people in Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood live in poverty, and few residents worry about paying the bills. They all experience crime, and Denver’s public safety officials want to know what drives crime trends in neighborhoods and how to stop it from happening in the first place. They plan to dig into the nitty gritty data available through the U.S. Census Bureau and their own crime analytics to figure it out. Then, they want to recruit city agencies to help address the underlying issues, the Denver Post reports. Understanding those differences and other socioeconomic factors through data analysis of each census tract is part of the Denver Department of Public Safety’s new plan to prevent crime and improve quality of life, says department director Troy Riggs.

The program, called the Denver Opportunity Index, is an attempt to better inform first responders about the communities they serve, pinpoint neighborhoods where more help is needed and connect city departments attempting to combat socioeconomic factors that affect public safety, Riggs said Wednesday. “If we’re serious about long-term public safety, we need to change our mindset,” he said. Using data to inform policing and public safety policy is nothing new, said Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum. It’s always good for officers to know the reality of the community they serve, he said, but the real advantage of a program like Denver’s is that it connects a wide variety of city resources to work together to prevent crime. “This is all about prevention, and very often prevention starts outside the enforcement arena,” Wexler said. “We’ve got to get beyond police officers just patrolling streets and start asking the question of ‘Why is crime higher in certain parts of the city as opposed to others?’” said Mayor Michael Hancock.

from https://thecrimereport.org