Halifax District Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) developed their Crime Reduction Strategy in 2007, based on formative work that was already being done within other law enforcement agencies. It coincided with the emerging need amongst police everywhere to figure out how to maximize the use of resources and technology, and obtain measurable results in a reduced-resource environment. Simply put, crime reduction in the Halifax district is the rigorous focus of police resources, led appropriately by evidence-based analysis of information on recurring problems, crimes, offenders or locations. In essence, this strategy seeks to create a smarter policing environment to reduce crime in the local community.
Through the use of Comstat (a computer statistics process to map out crime hot spots), this strategy targets the identification of prolific offenders, targeting hot spots, conducting breach operations / door knocks, gathering intelligence through street checks, and doing proactive prevention and enforcement.
The responsibility for implementation rests with the entire district, encompassing the Crime Analyst, Patrol / General Duty, Community and School Liaison Officers and Street Crime. In the Halifax district, crime reduction is considered everyone’s job.
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Comstat began on a small scale in June 2008. It has evolved substantially in input and size since 2011, including senior briefings between the RCMP and the municipal policing partners.
The initiative was undertaken to maximize the use of resources and time to advance the Crime Reduction Strategy for the Halifax District RCMP.
Initial set-up costs included the acquisition of mapping software for the analyst, and subsequent training. The total cost was approximately $10,000.
The initiative was originally implemented on a small scale, with the Officer in Charge, four watch commanders and a crime analyst initially having operational meetings. It has grown significantly over the last four years to include representation from all Unit I/Cs, as well as external partners such as the Probations and Safe Communities Units of the Department of Justice.
Offenders are now mapped (in addition to the crime) to show the proximity of where offenders live or are committing crimes in relation to other crime that is occurring. Our success has come in unexpected ways in terms of efficiency. In the past 36 months, the district has shown a 27% reduction in property-related crimes and a 13% reduction in other crimes (e.g., crimes against individuals).The effective use of the powerful information contained within the police RMS software collected daily, almost in real time, has enabled Halifax District RCMP to be proactive, evidence-based, intelligence-led and data-driven, by giving the Analyst, Patrol/General Duty, Street Crime, and Community Policing Units a targeted focused approach to crime reduction. The results have been significant reductions in crime and calls for service.Halifax Regional Police, our municipal partners in policing in Halifax Regional Municipality, have now adopted and share the same process across the entire municipality. External government agencies like Probation Services (from the provincial Department of Justice) fully participate in our Comstat meetings, with both consultative and cooperative involvement. Consultative sharing happens with the Halifax Regional Municipality Board of Police Commission through the Officer in Charge of Halifax District.
Report all crime; be a part of the solution; look out for one another; if it looks out of the ordinary… it probably is.
An audit of our Crime Reduction Strategy was completed by a review team from RCMP 'J' Division and several recommendations were made for improvements.
The next stage of our Crime Reduction Strategy will be a Hybrid HUB approach leading to a pre-criminal, individualized intervention model with shared responsibility amongst our partners and the community.