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The police should get hip to HIPE


When it comes to crime reporting, nothing is more eye-catching than a statistic. In addition, because they consist of numbers, they carry an air of objectivity. They are not mere opinions, they are 'facts.' Of course, without analysis that tells what a statistic 'means,' an inherently subjective activity, the objective number is really meaningless.

Which is, to some degree, their value. Various interest groups can assign any number of meanings to crime statistics to further their own agenda. One criminologist and former police officer is suggesting that reliance on the statistics of some violent felonies is misleading, such as murder statistics. As he argues because of the way in which many homicides occur, policing stats involving homicide really don't tell you much about the state of the community. 


Murder is difficult to predict and prevent, because it typically is private, between parties who know each other and occurs indoors. Police cannot know when a domestic dispute is going to erupt into murder, or when words pass in a bar and a violent fight leads to a knife thrust or gunshot.

He suggests that police must know both 'what' is going on, as well as 'why.' He calls his analysis HIPE, for "harm-focused, intelligence-led, problem-oriented and evidence-based policing." This process uses a holistic approach to determine why a theft problem develops in a community and assesses if it is being driven by a drug problem or other issues.

This is often not done because it can be expensive and the alternative of simply working to lower specific statistics is much easier, even if it fails to fully address the real issues.

None of this is easy, but in many cases, if it is done properly, it can bring about the increase in security and safety that most residents of a city want without creating the oppressive exploitation that has been observed in some Missouri towns.

Source: thecrimereport.com, "Weaning America Off Violent Crime Stats," David J. Krajicek, September 8, 2015

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