In establishing such groups, it is important that they maintain scientific integrity and their results not be oriented toward the public relations effort for the department. If that becomes the case, then there will be strong pressures to distort the results. The danger of these distortions could be reduced by establishing an external audit overseeing the work of these pilot programs. Aside from this more general assignment of opera- tions research groups, it would be desirable to pick several cities that are willing to engage in careful and detailed incident-based data collection (e.g., through the National Incident-Based Reporting System) on crime and arrests to perform the partitioning and attri- bution discussed earlier in this paper. In the process,
9 ➤ ➤ Alfred Blumstein new methods of measurement and analysis are likely to be developed, and those results are likely to be generalizable to other jurisdictions, particularly to the operations research groups assigned to a number of departments. Approaches such as this would bring the competence that has been extremely important in enhancing mili- tary and business performance into the world of polic- ing. It has the potential to significantly enhance the professionalism and effectiveness of management, not only in the jurisdictions where the studies are pursued but in others to which their results might be general- ized. This is clearly an important mission for NIJ and would cost a tiny fraction of the operating cost of policing. Notes 1. My own experience highlights some of these possi- bilities. I was in New York (well before William Bratton was commissioner of the New York Police Department) and experienced an event at 5 p.m. on a summer Sunday afternoon in a crowded part of midtown that was a cross between a mugging and a pickpocketing incident. I asked the police officers who came to my aid following the incident if they wanted to take a report, and they replied, “Nah, that kind of thing happens here all the time.” In another incident in Pittsburgh, when I tried to report an attempted larceny, I was bounced from central headquarters to the local precinct, where they tried to bounce me back to headquarters. When I told precinct staff I had already spoken to someone at headquarters, they told me to come into the police station to file the offense report—which I never did. Although this may be fairly common police practice, intensive evaluation of a unit on the basis of the crime reports on its beat could easily be seen to shift the frequency with which crime reports are discouraged or rejected. 2. Skolnick, Jerome H., Justice Without Trial: Law Enforcement in a Democratic Society , New York: John Wiley, 1966. 3. See, for example, Blumstein, Alfred, “Youth Violence, Guns, and the Illicit-Drug Industry,” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 86 (1) (Fall 1995): 10–36. 4. Webb, Eugene J., Donald T. Campbell, Richard D.
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- Spring '17
- Chief Peterson
- Police Departments, New York City Police Department