Community problem-solving is a way for law enforcement and the members of the community to come together to combat crime. Many programs have begun to teach children at young ages how to say no. The program in reference is D.A.R.E., which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. D.A.R.E. is one program that is offered that is geared towards children but there are programs that are geared toward an adult’s involvement. The law enforcement in Boston, Massachusetts has taken the advantages of technology and used the information to aid in police initiatives to combat crime.
Twitter is an online social networking service. This service provides up to the minute updates on many subjects and provides instant messaging to the masses. The Boston police department is using Twitter to their advantage. They are the first department to do so. 16,000 individuals are followers for the police department (Twitter, 2011). Information about arrests, suspicious activity, suspect sighting, and more can be tweeted to the police department.
Safe Street Teams
Twitter has proven to be a beneficial tool for the Boston police department. Another tool used by this police department is the safe street teams. The safe street teams were created in 2007 and were put into action to help the relationship between police officers and the community. 14 neighborhoods in Boston are part of the safe street team. The safe street teams focus on deterring crime and keeping the community safe, clean, and orderly. The teams also focus on positive interactions among the community members and listen to any and all concerns that may arise. Since the safe street teams have come into effect the area has seen a steady decrease in crime. From 2007 to 2008 alone there was a 12% decrease in crime (City of Boston, 2011). More neighborhoods around the nation may learn something by investing some time in safe street teams.
Shot spotter is a form of acoustical technology that the Boston police department adopted in 2007. The shot spotter will locate precise locations where shots were fired. The shot spotter will send notifications to the police department 1-2 minutes before any 911 calls are patched through. The purpose of the shot spotter technology is to improve police officers response time and to locate individuals who have a gun (City of Boston, 2011).
The crimestoppers text-a-tip program was first initiated by the Boston police department as well. The text-a-tip program is a communication tool that enables the community another form of reporting crime. This program allows help for law enforcement in the fight against crime. The texts can come in at anytime and anywhere. The program has been successful. Tips have resulted in the arrests of criminals who have committed crimes that are drug related, gang related, and other violent crimes (City of Boston, 2011).
Operation Cease Fire
Operation cease fire is a program that the Boston police department has adopted to fight crime just like the crimestoppers text-a-tip. The purpose of operation cease fire is to inform all gang members that there are other opportunities for them besides crime and that violent activity will be stopped. Law enforcement that is involved with operation cease fire will meet biweekly to brainstorm possible solutions to squash youth violence. Two tactics that the operation cease uses is the strict guidelines and call ins. The strict guidelines are administered to individuals who are participating in gang related activities. The guidelines may include curfew, probation surrender, and home checks. Gang members are checked upon at their homes to ensure that they are following all the guidelines that were set for them. A call in occurs when law enforcement officials call 6 – 20 gang members into the courtroom for a meeting. Law enforcement lets the gang members know that they are aware of all activity that has been taking place and they know who is responsible for the acts. The law enforcement also inform the gang members that aggressive measures will be taken to ensure the safety of the community and that alternatives do exist if any of the members wish to get out of the life of committing crime (City of Boston, 2011).
Twitter, safe street teams, shot spotter, crimestoppers text-a-tip, and operation cease fire are some effective programs that the Boston police department uses in the fight against crime. The programs are effective and the statistics show that there is a decrease in crime. A base for trust has been established among police officers and the community which will help in the giving of information of criminal activity.