By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The Norman Police Department recently reported citywide crime stats as well as some differences seen after saturating two particular areas in eastern and western parts of the city.
The saturation of the two areas began after implementing Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS), which is used to help reduce crime, accidents and traffic violations in cities across the country.
Norman police crime analyst Jason Redden said out of 196 square miles covered by police, two square miles were chosen to be saturated due to the high volume of accidents and crimes committed in the two zones.
The saturation resulted in both the overall reduction of crime and accidents this year, statistics provided by police show.
The borders of the west zone include 24th Avenue Southwest, Main Street, Berry Road and Lindsey Street. The borders of the east zone include 12th Avenue Southeast, Alameda Street, 24th Avenue Southeast and Lindsey Street.
One statistic covers a six-month overview of larceny from vehicles from January to June, comparing normal limits of incidents to 2013 incidents and to a five-year average. Graphs provided by the police show larcenies decreased in both zones during the time frame.
From 2012 to 2013 during those six-month periods, larcenies in the west zone decreased about 70 percent; larcenies in the east zone decreased about 48 percent.
While accidents in each zone have seen some decreases as well, it wasn’t as significant of a change as larcenies from vehicles. There was a 9 percent decrease of accidents in the west zone and a 6 percent decrease in the east zone from 2012 to 2013.
Redden said crime is being displaced, and hopefully crime incidents will move out of the city entirely.
If a problem spot moves, so will officers. Norman Police Chief Keith Humphrey said the program has police officers on every shift communicating with each other. The officers tell each other what happened on their shifts, and officers on other shifts can either follow up or keep an eye out for certain problems that may arise, Humphrey said.
“Now these guys are thinking, ‘Man, we can really make a difference,’” he said.
As the officers take what happens in their beat (there’s eight in the city) more personally, they invest time into thinking about what they can do to make their beats safer. Humphrey said officers are coming up with their own ideas on how to address the problems, whereas previously that was something typically done by the police chief.
Officers try to do a 60/40 split, meaning 40 percent of the time they’re responding to calls for service, and 60 percent of the time they’re saturating a certain area and trying to be proactive about preventing problems, Humphrey said.
“Based on staffing, it’s hard to do that all the time, but guys are going to that area once they’re done (responding to a call),” he said.
Redden said while those numbers decreased in the two zones, the rest of the city has seen a slight increase.
Citywide statistics over the six-month period from 2012 to 2013 also were compared. Some of those include:
· All accidents decreased by 1.5 percent
· Forcible rape incidents increased by 14 percent
· Robbery incidents decreased by 6 percent
· Aggravated assault incidents increased by 85 percent
· Burglary incidents increased by 10 percent
· Larcenies from vehicles decreased by 20 percent
· Motor vehicle thefts increased by 22 percent
· All crimes decreased by 2 percent
Another piece of the DDACTS puzzle includes a Raids Online web crime map. The map gives the public a look at where incidents are occurring in Norman and what types of incidents occur.
It shows a map and grid with all of the crimes that have occurred in the area. It also allows individuals to sign up for neighborhood watch reports that automatically email a breakdown of recent crime activity and lets people submit anonymous tips directly to Norman police about a crime.
Residents can track crime in Norman by visiting raidsonline.com/?address=Norman,%20OK. A Raids Online Mobile app is available for free at the App Store for smartphone users.