East Orange, NJ
While the new economy may be the catalyst needed for long overdue changes in policing, the East Orange, NJ Police Department (EOPD) began tackling dual problems of high crime and limited resources over seven years ago. In 2003, the City of East Orange experienced the highest overall and second highest violent crime rate in New Jersey. Increasing and persistently high crimes rates showed that its reliance on reactive policing methods for controlling crime had proven to be problematic and ineffective.
In 2004, the EOPD developed and implemented a proactive, data-driven crime prevention policing strategy that embodied a Public Safety Information Grid (PSIG) concept to achieve more effective and efficient outcomes. This practitioner-defined integrated technology platform enabled the EOPD to combine intelligence-led and "real-time" policing methods into a single powerful policing paradigm. Identifying and tracking offending patterns as they emerged empowered police to prevent and disrupt them through targeted enforcement and investigations. Technology-enabled crime prevention strategies helped the EOPD achieve crime reductions at a rate roughly 12 times the national average, lower crime-related economic losses by tens of millions of dollars, reduce fear-of-crime, and increase productivity and efficiency. As illustrated in the staffing and productivity chart, sworn staffing levels averaged slightly over 270 between 2004 and 2008, as compared to 287 in 2003, Yet proactive crime prevention productivity exploded, reaching over one half million in 2008. Likewise police engagement levels increased exponentially. Importantly, these improvements were sustained over many years and continue today. As of 2010, overall crime declined by 76%. More importantly, over 96% of residents living in neighborhoods formerly known for having the highest violent crime rates in the city reported feeling safe walking in their neighborhoods at night; and more than 89% of citizens surveyed during 2010 reported being satisfied with police services. In 2004, less than 20% of residents felt safe or were satisfied with police services.