Approach to crime prevention through preventive patrol

Kansas City experiment is an experiment that was done by Kansas City police department. It was based on the hypothesis that gun seizures and gun crimes are inversely related. They assumed that a decrease in illegal fire arms could lead to a decrease in the number of gun related crimes in the city. The officers involved worked overtime and concentrated exclusively on gun detection through patrols and they were not required to respond to any service calls. The strategy targeted illegal gun owners and violent criminals carrying guns.

The approach used by the police officers in the Kansas City experiment was different from what they used earlier in their traditional patrols. It was different because of the kind of patrol they conducted during the experiment. The patrols were directed patrol (they were specifically directed towards detecting illegal guns) unlike the traditional ones which were general patrols. General patrols responded to calls for police service, calls on violence, poverty or disorder crimes and general offence reports within the area.

They directed extra patrol attention on gun crimes by concentrating solely on gun detection through pro active patrols. They seized guns through frisking individuals that they arrested and through making plain view sightings of fire arms during the usual traffic breach or security stops. Traffic stops were the most effective of the methods they used in detecting the illegal guns where by they could find one gun in every 28 stops that they made.

Because of the patrols that were conducted, gun crimes such as drive-by shootings and homicides reduced significantly during the period when the experiment was being conducted. Drive-by shootings reduced from 7 crimes to 1 crime. The overall decline in gun crimes was recorded to be 49 percent where by it dropped from 169 crimes to 86 crimes. Criminal homicide cases dropped from 30 crimes to 10 crimes which was a 67 percent decline (Sherman  Rogan, 1995).

According to the comparison that was done between Kansas city and a control area, it was found that directed patrol were cost effective in removing fire arms from the streets in hotspot areas than the traditional patrols. Unlike the other officers, the officers participating in the experiment were exempted from answering calls for service and they were also required to work for extra hours compared to other normal patrol officers. They were also involved in directed patrols which were aimed at reducing the number of illegal guns in the hands of civilians unlike the normal patrol officers who respond to all types of calls (Bayley ,1994).

This approach can be implemented in a police department on a permanent basis because of the impact it had on the crime rate where by it helped reduce the level of crimes. Through increased seizure of illegal fire arms in the hands of civilians, gun related crimes can be reduced. The approach also proved that police officers can be productive when given a chance to focus in a particular area of crime such as gun related crimes without obligation to answer to other calls for service (Bratton  Knobler, 1998).

Although this approach can be effective, there are some of the challenges that its likely to face, this includes challenges such as lack of funds to finance the patrols and also the extra hours that are required for patrols. Challenges such as lack of finances can be taken care of by the program being institutionalized within the city budget or funding can be sort from other areas such as Federal government. The problem of having to work for long hours can be solved by employing more police officers who could reduce the number of hours that each police officer will need to work in a week (Uchida  Craig., 1993).

The tactics used in Kansas can be used to reduce crime in todays environment. Increased patrols in hotspot areas can help reduce on the number of crimes that are committed. Directed patrols can reduce the number of illegal guns in the hands of individuals which could help reduce gun related crimes. Some of the strategies used during that time are also used today (Gale  Dennis, 1996).  Highway patrols and also regular road blocks have helped reduce the crime rate in todays environment. These approaches have been successful in their implementation. This is because of the reduction of crimes that are recorded in our environment such as a decrease in highway robbery, car jacking, homicide and other crimes (Sparrow, Moore  Kennedy1990).

Some police departments still engage in some of the activities that led to the 1960 riots where by there was discrimination of people based on the ethnic background. (Gilje Paul, 1996.) People were shot at by police and some of these instances were due to poorly trained police recruits but the main causes were economic problems that people were facing at the time and social factors such as police abuse, lack of affordable housing, economic inequality, black militancy and rapid demographic change (Gale  Dennis, 1996).

Some modern police departments may contain trained police officers but with no value for human life therefore they end up shooting at people without prior considerations of consequences. There are differences between the strategies that were used by the Kansas police department and the strategies that were used by the police in the 1960 riots. The Kansas police were trained on how to handle potential victims unlike the other ones who they say not all were trained. The Kansas police were not targeting individuals based on their ethnicity but instead they were targeting individuals who had guns (Gaines, Larry, Victor, Vaughn  Joseph, 1999).

According to (Sparrow, Moore Kennedy1990.)Police strategies have changed since 1960s because of the introduction of new technology that has helped them deal with various crimes in a simpler and easy way. In the 1960s, emergency calls and dispatching of police patrols was done from operation rooms. Stations were linked by a teleprinter system which could be used to circulate information to other places whenever there was an emergency. But with the introduction of radio calls, it has become easier to circulate information when an emergency arises.

In 1976, there was the introduction of the Wanganui computer which could store the vehicle registration numbers, criminal records and other information that could be needed by police. It also included a Computer Assistant Dispatch (CAD) that could keep records of incoming calls and monitor police patrols. In 1996, after the closure of Wanganui computer, a new-state of art system was introduced. It brought about radio, telephone, mapping and dispatch capabilities into a new Communication and Resource Deployment (CARD) system. After the introduction of CARD system, a lot of changes have come into place which includes introduction of computerized mapping, call management and radio systems, recording of transaction done giving precise performance data and the communication centers that have been improved and are able to handle multiple calls at the same time (Uchida  Craig 1993).

Although a lot of things have changed in the way police operate, police patrols have remained the backbone of police operations (Sherman, 1995). To reduce the potential of urban riots reoccurring, police have come up with the following strategies

They have changed their operation in inner cities by offering proper protection to city residents and have eliminated their abrasive practices.

They have also created ways in which they can be able to attend to public grievances.

Policies have been put in place to ensure police officers are properly skilled to avoid actions that may bring about tension.

They have improved their relationship with the community by ensuring proper understanding between them and the community. They have also encouraged the community to develop support for law enforcement (Clarke, 1997).


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