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In 2000, awards were made to six departments for the following initiatives:42
RETHINKING THE ASSUMPTIONS
1. Mid-City Division, San Diego Police Department: Graffiti Prevention and Suppression.
2. Kansas City, Missouri Police Department: Reported Gas Thefts at Service Stations.
3. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina Police Department: Problems at the Homeless Men’s Shelter.
4. Joliet, Illinois Police Department: Licensing Rental Property.
5. San Diego Police Department: Reclassifying A Home For People With Mental Illness.
6. Vancouver Police Department and Grandview-Woodland Community Policing Centre, British Columbia, Canada: Showdown at the Playground.
In 2001 Goldstein awards were again granted to six departments for activities in the following areas of community concern:43
1. California Highway Patrol: Corridor Safety Program: A Collaborative Approach to Traffic Safety.
2. Buffalo, New York Police Department: Workable Solutions to the Problem of Street Prostitution.
3. Chula Vista Police Department: Designing out Crime: The Chula Vista Residential Burglary Reduction Program.
4. Rogers County (Oklahoma) Sheriff’s Office: Targeting the Market for Stolen Goods: Putting a Needle in the Haystack.
5. Salt Lake City Police Department: The False Alarm Solution: Verified Response.
6. South Euclid (Ohio) Police Department: The South Euclid School Bullying Project.
These examples of police innovation are from 172 programs nominated for award consideration in a two-year period and are hopefully illustrative of the degree to which the police in the United States. and elsewhere have been successful in redefining their roles and mission. These programs are notable not only for their success, but also for the open manner in which police enlisted help from any source that seemed to make sense in the context of the situation at hand.
We shall examine shortly what value application of such conceptual approaches may bring to the forensic profession. There is, however, a cautionary note: Even with all the innovation and the apparent evidence of successes in many forms and locations, crime and the criminal justice system are still an expensive proposition. In 1999, the last year for which figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics are available, the cost of fighting crime in the United States
was $147 billion, or about four times the amount spent, $36 billion, in 1982. Nearly 2.2 million people work in the criminal justice system, including 1 million police officers, 717,000 prison and jail guards, and 455,000 people in the courts. These expenditures amount to about 7.7 percent of all state and local government spending. Federal increases were even more pronounced, with spending rising from $4.5 billion in 1982 to $2 7.4 billion in 1999.44 As we shall see shortly, these numbers, impressive as they are, when combined are less than one-half of the estimated annual fraud loss.
Given the massive amount of criminal justice spending, some have argued that any potentially positive outcomes are likely the result of simple math; with huge numbers of people incarcerated, there is of course going to be less crime. While some favor this argument, others see it as less clear-cut. Marc Mauer, the assistant director of The Sentencing Project in Washington, D.C. and the author of Race to Incarcerate (New Press) counters this proposition in the following fashion:
Recent scholarship on crime reduction in the 1990’s suggests that perhaps 25 percent of the reduction in violent crime can be attributed to prison-building. Significant? Yes, but this also obviously tells us that 75 percent of the reduction was not related to prison. Other factors that have likely contributed to this trend include an improved economy, strategic changes in policing, reduced demand in the drug trade, and demographic shifts.45
Bratton, too, rejects the “simple math” argument, that crime reduction is largely a function of the number of persons in jail, the number of cops available to put them there, or some demographic shifts. In recounting the successes of his tenure as New York City Police Commissioner, he advances the following arguments:
The drop in New York’s crime rate reflected a national trend. We were the national trend. According to FBI figures, in the first six months of 1995, serious crime throughout the country went down by 1 percent, or about 67,000 crimes. In New York in that same period, there were 41,000 fewer crimes, a
16 percent drop. We were two-thirds of the national decline in reported crime.
New York’s teenage population, which was responsible for a significant portion of the city’s violent crime, was on its way down, and many of them were dead or in jail. “Jail? Who put them there?” Did all the sixteen-year-olds suddenly become fifty?” The number of sixteen-to-nineteen-year-olds in New York City was actually going up, not down.
Crime dropped simply because we had more cops. The NYPD reached its staffing height in September 1994 and lost about 1,400 each year thereafter through attrition until the next recruit class replenished the previous year’s losses. Overtime was slashed. We were losing people and crime was still going down in double digits.