You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Trend Watch: Cops and Communities Talk Traffic Data

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, May 24 2011

Governing Magazine's Heather Kerrigan reports that cities across the U.S. are finding a useful policing edge in overlaying crime data and traffic safety data. (In broad strokes, crime and traffic incidents tend to happen in the same places.) One particularly interesting bit is the idea that law enforcement models informed by data could make the police more accountability to the communities they police:

Shawnee’s Police Department met with the community in its target area before implementing DDACTS [Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety] so residents and business owners better understood why they would see an increased police presence. For the most part, the community is receptive. Now, Hisle says, officers hear from community members who say, "It’s great you guys are here; we feel safe in our neighborhoods again."

Nashville’s [Michael] Alexander echoes the importance of outreach, noting the concern that business owners have expressed about the increased police presence deterring patrons. But having data available on the reduction in crime in targeted areas over weeks, months and years makes a difference. "If you don’t have the data, it’s much harder to be accountable not only to department leadership, but to the community as well," he says.

Or looking at it from a slightly different perspective, citizens equipped with real data on traffic and more have a new way to make their case for how their neighborhoods should be served. (via @oso)