14 Trends of Interest in Policing

Did you know that nationwide, violent crime rates are roughly half of what they were in the early 1990’s? Police departments have achieved these goals in large part by deploying an endless array of new strategies and new technologies.

In 2014’s Future Trends of Policing report we discover at least sixteen separate efforts that have made this happen, many if not all of them through the vehicle of technology. Which of these top trends is your police department tapping into today?

  1. Community policing: Community policing is defined by Discovering Policing as involving three key components: developing community partnerships, engaging in problem solving, and implementing community policing organizational features.
  2. Problem-oriented policing (POP): was coined by University of Wisconsin–Madison professor Herman Goldstein and refers to a policing strategy that involves the identification and analysis of specific crime and disorder problems, in order to develop effective response strategies. See more about POP by clicking here.
  3. CompStat: This is a management philosophy or organizational management tool for police departments, roughly equivalent to Six Sigma or TQM, and was not a computer system or software package in its original form. A great resource on the origins of CompStat can be found within this BJA resource.
  4. Hot spots policing: This policing strategy is used by a majority of U.S. police departments according to the National Institute of Justice. “Hot spots policing strategies focus on small geographic areas or places, usually in urban settings, where crime is concentrated (Braga et al. 2012). Although there is not a common definition for “hot spots,” they are generally thought of as ‘small places in which the occurrence of crime is so frequent that it is highly predictable, at least over a one year period.’”
  5. Crime mapping: Crime mapping is used by analysts in law enforcement agencies to map, visualize, and analyze crime incident patterns. It is a key component of crime analysis and the CompStat policing strategy. About.com provides some simple yet insightful information on the topic in this article.
  6. Predictive analytics: Predictive analytics is the practice of extracting information from existing data sets in order to determine patterns and predict future outcomes and trends. Predictive analytics does not tell you what will happen in the future. Learn more about predictive analytics from this resource on Predictive Analytics Today.
  7. Intelligence-led policing: Intelligence-led policing (ILP) is a policing model built around the assessment and management of risk. Intelligence officers serve as guides to operations, rather than operations guiding intelligence. Calls for intelligence-led policing originated in the 1990s, both in Britain and in the United States.
  8. Closed-circuit video cameras, dash cams, body-worn cameras: The use of video monitoring has exploded exponentially in the U.S. across police departments with the increasing availability of state of the art technology. In today’s video-ready world, the closed-circuit video camera, dash cam, and body-worn cams have come into their own. A Police Chief article shares the following applications that these tools enable and assist with: patrol vehicle in-car cameras, training, public affairs, robbery investigation, crime scene processing, undercover surveillance, tactical operations, vehicle collision investigation, interrogation, video lineup.
  9. Automated license plate readers: An Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) is an image-processing technology used to identify vehicles by their license plates.
  10. Gunshot detection systems: A gunfire locator or gunshot detection system is a system that detects and conveys the location of gunfire or other weapon fire using acoustic, optical, potentially other types of sensors, as well as a combination of such sensors.
  11. Wireless transmission of nearly any type of data imaginable:  When tapped into via properly deployed mobile wireless technologies police departments are provided with powerful, effective tools for protecting life and property. Here’s a great article discussing how mobile wireless technology is helping police departments.
  12. GPS devices to track suspects: GPS tracking devices help assist police and government agencies „ by 1) allowing law enforcement to monitor a suspected drug-trafficker, arsonist, child molester, or any potential criminal suspect 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, 2) giving law enforcement departments the ability to audit or monitor potentially under-performing employees, and 3) providing a unique and accurate way for officers to easily track vehicle maintenance records and mileage driven. Read more here.
  13. Sharing of information: According to a recent Police Chief article, “technology is enabling better communication between government agencies and the general public in emergency situations. The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), for example, is being designed to enable local, state, and federal authorities to provide emergency alerts and notification to the general public through multiple communications channels. Learn more about how technology is being utilized to better share information by reading the full piece.
  14. Social Media: According to an IACP survey from 2010, law enforcement agencies are increasingly utilizing social media in crime prevention efforts. Here are some stats from the study:

Social Media

Social Media 2

What’s more, according to a PERF survey from 2014, “police departments across the country are embracing a variety of social media platforms, and that trend is expected to continue, as 98 percent of PERF survey respondents said that their agency will increase their use of social media within the next two to five years.

Table 4

Read the full PERF article made available by Police Forum by clicking here.

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