June 20, 2011

Neighborhood Portfolio Exercise: Ocean Street Businesses

The other day we introduced the Neighborhood Portfolio Exercise (NPE) – an essential element in our community-oriented policing model. Four officers recently presented NPEs as a capstone to their training program. Today we look at Officer Forrest Crowell’s NPE.
Officer Crowell focused on issues that face some businesses on Ocean Street but not others. Specifically, Officer Crowell had heard from residents that some businesses seem to have issues of loitering, drug dealing/use and trespassing but that these problems are not universal. Officer Crowell sought to answer a simple question: why do some businesses suffer from these problems while others don’t? What can we learn from the successful businesses to apply to those that aren’t as successful?
Steps Officer Crowell took to reach a conclusion:
·         Met with residents, business owners, elected officials, employees and neighborhood groups to learn about problem
·         Obtained calls-for-service and crime data at two problematic locations and three control locations
·         Held community meeting with residents and business owners to start a dialogue about the issues facing their area
From these meetings and through analyzing the crime data, Officer Crowell found that successful businesses were consistent. What does this mean? The successful businesses had employee training on what to do if they saw problems, these businesses consistently called police when issues arose and set policies (and enforced these policies) for trespassing/loitering.  
·         Have employee training meeting
·         Created Business Packet
o   Packet contains training materials for employees – what to do? Who do I call? What are my rights as an employee or business to deal with these problems? What is against the law? Example No Trespass/Loitering language
·         One of the two businesses that were experiencing problems has already greatly altered their approach
·         The business owner and manager experienced the problems firsthand with Officer Crowell and worked with employees on training and signage
·         The second business is now being worked on by neighbors, police and other city officials to be a part of the solution