Garner Police are on the cutting edge of new technology to keep residents safe. The department initiated a new program last week to reduce crime and traffic accidents.
The Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS) initiative began being implemented last week. But Garner’s analyst, Lauren Norman, began working for the department in mid-March and spent nearly three months compiling historical data to identify crime and traffic problem areas known as “hot spots.”
Still in its infancy, the DDACTS initiative hasn’t shown overwhelming results yet, but Norman said she will be tracking the progress.
The hot spot areas the department has identified so far are the Fayetteville Road corridor, between the US 401 split and Purser Drive, and the US 70 Highway corridor, between the US 401 split and Timber Drive. Those areas account for more than 24 percent of all crimes reported and more than 35 percent of all reported traffic crashes in Garner.
A big proponent for the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program, Garner wanted to be a part of the next big thing in policing. DDACTS has been used in Baltimore successfully and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been looking for ways to expand the program into North Carolina.
Garner, along with Knightdale and Holly Springs, share Norman as part of a grant to pilot the program with a regional approach.
Norman said the three towns all have very different issues facing them and she has to look at each as its own program.
“It’s very individual in each town,” she said.
There are seven core principals involved in the DDACTS program: community partnerships; data collection; data analysis; strategic operations; monitoring, evaluation and adjustments and outcome measurement.
Police Chief Brandon Zuidema said the community partnerships are key to making the initiative work.
“We have a tremendous amount of support in the community,” he said.
Norman has created a flyer about the program and officers have been distributing the information to local businesses and answering questions. The department also has a DDACTS website with maps and data about the hot spot areas.
The department plans to attend Home Owners Association meetings near the hot spots to help residents understand why the areas are being targeted for crime and safety issues. Zuidema said this form of community policing helps the police interact with citizens and makes the department that much more knowledgeable about Garner.
While DDACTS won’t necessarily cut down on costs of operations in the police department, Zuidema said it won’t increase them either. Instead, he expects the initiative to help the department become even more efficient with its resources.
It’s a lot of responsibility, but Zuidema said the Garner Police are proud to be leading the way in keeping residents safe.
To find out more about DDACTS and see maps of the hot spot areas, go to http://garnernc.gov/Departments/Police/DDACTS.aspx.
Contact Kelly Griffith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-552-5675.