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Comprehensive Approach to Reducing Demand for Services

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 73 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2006 Pages: 66-68,70,71
Michael Matulavich
Date Published
April 2006
5 pages
This article describes how the Akron Police Department (Ohio) worked with the community to develop a strategic crime control plan.
The Akron Police Department (APD) established committees of line officers, first-line supervisors, and civilians to analyze the calls that consumed an inordinate amount of police resources. The committees recommended ways to reduce the demand for certain services in specific locations and to improve the way those services were provided. In an effort to address crime being committed by residents of rental property, the owners of the affected rental housing were invited to a meeting to discuss the ways in which the owners, neighborhood residents, city agencies, and the APD could reduce crime committed by renters. Committee research also found that approximately 500 misdemeanor theft reports each year involved convenience gas stations. Police met with storeowners to develop a more efficient process for taking reports of such thefts and responding to store owners' wishes about prosecuting offenders. A committee researched shoplifting and theft calls from local retailers and found them to be frequent and labor intensive. Officers met with retail employees to provide instruction in how to complete information on a theft while they were waiting for officers to arrive. This collaboration saved a significant amount of patrol time. Other measures adopted pertained to increasing traffic enforcement at frequent crash sites, reducing mental health calls to police, the management of locations that have repeat calls for police service, a reduction in false alarm calls, countering speeding in residential areas, a campaign to reduce prostitution, and intervention strategies for juveniles at risk for committing delinquent acts. The article also describes an internal reorganization of the department that facilitated a more efficient and productive use of resources.