I found this new article on MetroWest area of Massachusetts possibly regionalizing Crime Analysis. I found it very interesting and wanted to share it to see what others thought.
In the hopes of preventing crime across MetroWest, police departments are banding together to try to obtain a state grant to establish a crime analysis program.
“Crime doesn’t stop at the town line,” said Framingham Deputy Chief Ken Ferguson, who is heading up the grant application process.
The proposed regionalization effort will include the towns of Ashland, Holliston, Hopkinton, Milford, Natick, Sherborn, Southborough, Wayland and the city of Marlborough.
The grant, which would come for the state Community Innovation Challenge program, will fund a project manager to investigate the cost of getting all of the towns’ data onto a pre-existing Masschusetts State Police database and establish a job outline for an analyst.
“It’s all about information sharing and intelligence dissemination so police departments can operate effectively and efficiently,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said area departments do try and work together now, but only in reaction to crime.
“This would be sharing information proactively,” Ferguson said. “We’re information driven, the more we have the more effective we can be.”
“We do share information now, but it’s kind of old school,” said Holliston Police Chief John Moore. “It’s through phone calls, emails or occasionally holding a meeting.”
Moore said while there would still be occasions for those types of communications with this grant, an analyst could help systemize the information sharing.
“To have access to the information from towns like Framingham or even Ashland, which has a higher volume, would be quite a benefit,” said Moore, noting the benefits of this program to smaller departments. “If we can multiply the information we have on subjects or people coming to our town, we can be more prepared and better able to prevent crime.”
Milford Police Lt. James Falvey said the benefits may also extend beyond preventing crime to being able to prosecute offenders.
“We’ll be able to see trends in other communities and maybe be able to predict and plan for the occurrences in our town, to either prevent crimes or apprehend suspects,” Falvey said. “If we are able to apprehend someone, maybe this can be used to solve crimes in other towns.”
“Crime is everywhere and no one is immune,” Falvey said. He said he hoped to see even more area towns, even small towns, sign on to this regionalization program later on.
If awarded a grant, this system will be set up over the next year. Then, an analyst may be hired and paid for through a shared cost between all nine towns.
“We’ll look for creative funding, but we’ll also be looking at how much each town needs to pay,” Ferguson said. “This is the benefit of regionalization, everyone is getting this service at a reduced cost.”
Ferguson said this may be particularly beneficial to small towns that can’t afford to have officers perform data analysis, like Framingham does with two of their officers.
“We have endured cutbacks in the analysis area, too,” Ferguson said. “We want to bring it to the next level.”
(Lindsay Corcoran can be reached at (508) 626-4338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)