By Anne Russell. In the early 2000s, police agencies in British Columbia were forced to re-imagine their approach to emerging crime problems. The traditional ways of responding and reacting were not as effective against the increase in gang activity, auto theft, drug production, and other crimes taking place throughout the province.
In their new book, Eliminating Crime: The Seven Essential Principles of Police-based Crime Reduction, authors Dr. Irwin M. Cohen, Dr. Darryl Plecas, Amanda V. McCormick, and Adrienne M.F. Peters explore the paths taken and the lessons learned as British Columbia police agencies researched and introduced effective and efficient new policing strategies based on seven essential principles.
“This book focuses on what the police need to do to achieve the greatest success in effectively and efficiently reducing crime in their communities,” the authors write in the introduction. “While some police agencies have adopted some of these practices… there are very few, if any, agencies that have fully adopted and integrated all of these core principles into their everyday business rules.”
The book was published through the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) in B.C. by Len Garis, Fire Chief in Surrey, B.C. and an adjunct professor at the UFV’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. The book is dedicated to Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts for her leadership in implementing the city’s award-winning Crime Reduction Strategy.
The book describes the seven essential crime-reduction principles identified by the authors in their review of case studies, scientific research, police data and statistics, and best practices:
- Be information-led — collect, maintain, and act on accurate and relevant crime and offender data.
- Be intelligence-led — Integrate and use crime and intelligence analyses in strategic and tactical operations.
- Focus on offenders — identify and target existing and emerging high risk, prolific, and persistent offenders.
- Focus on problems — identify, understand, and target the key drivers of crime.
- Develop meaningful partnerships — identify and leverage partners who could contribute to achieving crime reduction solutions.
- Be pre-emptive — get ahead of crime by using crime data to be proactive against offenders, criminal events, and emerging crime trends.
- Be performance-based — build accountability measures into each initiative and focus on outcomes, rather than outputs.
Each chapter of the book is devoted to one essential principle and includes real-life examples and specific recommendations. The appendix outlines a series of questions that police leaders can use to assess their organization and guide their decision-making.
The book’s forward is written by RCMP Assistant Commander Norm Lipinski, Criminal Operations Officer for E’ Division Core Policing, and Chief Constable Bob Rich of the Abbotsford Police Department in British Columbia.
“In the fight to reduce crime, the trick for us all is to incorporate those ideas, strategies, and tactics that work,” they write. “For law enforcement practitioners, here is a great, well-researched guide, drawn from the collective policing experience and knowledge in the Canadian framework. It is a must-read for anyone who works in our business who wants to make a difference!”
Eliminating Crime: The Seven Essential Principles of Police-based Crime Reduction adds to the body of work developed by the Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research located in the University of the Fraser Valley’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. The Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research is committed to expanding innovation and research in criminal justice and public safety.
Copies of the book can be downloaded at http://cjr.ufv.ca