We have been an active partner in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI). By collaborating with JDAI, the courts and Arrowhead Regional Corrections (and other entities I’m sure I’m forgetting) we have lowered the number of kids getting locked up at the juvenile detention center. JDAI research reports, “Detention is a crucial early phase in the juvenile court process. Placement into a locked detention center pending court significantly increases the odds that youth will be found delinquent and committed to corrections facilities and can seriously damage their prospects for future success.”
When I worked in the juvenile bureau in the ‘90s, we had twice as many locked up as we do now. Juvenile crime continues to decrease. I look back and realize we may have made things worse, in some cases, by locking kids up. This is an example of how important partnering and applying new strategies with other criminal justice entities can make our department and community better for all involved.
Problem-solving is a key component of community policing and is a performance measure we look at daily, literally. We set threshold reports and are notified when properties exceed a certain number of police calls during various time periods. We work closely with property owners and managers to eliminate crime and disorder to ensure safe neighborhoods. While, like anything else, 99 percent of our property owners and managers do a great job of taking care of their properties and problems, a small, select few continue to push limits and create problems for our neighborhoods.
Our officers focus their time on the problem properties. I can think of many, many residential units in years past that were literally out-of-control crime havens. Today, we only have a handful of larger residential properties that are problematic. Officers working on the problem know who and what the problems are and are working diligently on solutions.
Community policing is alive and well in Duluth. I could write volumes about how community policing is ingrained in our everyday policing efforts. It simply is how we operate.