June 22, 2011

Neighborhood Porfolio Exercise: Managing Theft from Businesses

Neighborhood Portfolio Exercises (NPE) are an essential capstone project for new officers. They afford new officers an ability to explore community-oriented policing; problem solving at a higher and more critical level. Today we are going to look at Officer Travis Ahlers' NPE.

Officer Ahlers noticed that, even with the creation of our online crime reporting system, a significant amount of time is dedicated to dealing with reports of theft from businesses. Specifically, Officer Ahlers looked at three businesses in town that have experienced high theft levels in the last few years. Officer Ahlers presented a model to deal with this issue that he called TRAP - the Theft Reduction Action Program.

What is TRAP?
  • A program designed to streamline the report and arrest procedure of shoplifters
  • A business empowerment tool
  • A way to reduce criminal activity near and in businesses
How does it work?
  • The key feature is to allow businesses to directly report these crimes (similar to our current online crime reporting system - letting you fill out the details at a time convenient to you)
Officer Ahlers spoke to other police departments that have initiated similar programs and found that the agencies and businesses found it to be successful. In addition, he spoke with the national organization for problem-oriented policing - a model that focuses on root causes for reducing crime. Just how much time might it save for a police officer? Based on times dedicated to theft reports at these three businesses, it could save approximately 600 hours of police time (travel time, interview time and report writing time) per year! This time could be dedicated to more proactive patrol time in and around the areas that are experiencing these thefts.

The department is currently looking into how the model could be implemented locally.