Pegasus Institute to release report addressing violent crime in Louisville

05/02/2017 02:55 PM

The Pegasus Institute is seeking to address an increase in violent crimes in Louisville with its first research report, calling for strategies that target specific behavior in a small number of repeat offenders.

In a preview of the report, the group’s co-executive director Jordan Harris said that the research shows the most successful way to reduce violent crimes is by implementing a focus deterrence model.

Using challenges faced by Cincinnati’s police department, Harris explained how such a model worked.

“In their most dangerous police district they have about 86,000 people. In any given year they have about 70,000 calls for service, completely unmanageable,” Harris said. “They have about 150 police officers in that district. 150 police officers cannot address 70,000 calls for service; it’s just not humanely possible.”

Harris then went on to explain how Cincinnati used a focus deterrence model to better serve the community and reduce violent crimes.

“What they were able to do through their focus deterrence, through their mapping, through technology, was they were able to identify about 104 individuals who were the most violent in that district, in 19 one block segments,” Harris said. “Nineteen one block segments are much more manageable for 150 police officers to try to navigate, to try to control.”

Harris said this kind of targeting is perfectly legal since information they use is already available to police and/or public.

“A lot of the information that they use is information that would already be available to them,” Harris said. “Previous arrest records, very important, and some of the things that they use is social media targeting.”

Harris explained that in order for focus deterrence policing to work, the emphasis needs to be on specific behaviors. Using Nashville, Tennessee as an example, Harris explained how focusing on certain behaviors has no impact on others.

“They did a focus deterrence policing strategy to focus just on drug reduction, to get drug dealers off the streets,” he said.

Harris explained that while Nashville was successful in reducing drug offenses, focus deterrence strategy had little to no impact on reducing violent crimes. Harris believes that’s because police were not targeting behavior that causes the most violent crime.

“Repeated examples have shown us that more murders start through disrespect, through challenges, through small fights or tiffs, then actually are related to turf wars that relates to drugs,” Harris said. “So social media aspect is incredibly important — being able to utilize, and network, and map who your social media contacts are an incredibly important aspect.”

The report is expected to be released after the 143rd Kentucky Derby. The Pegasus Institute’s 2017 research agenda also includes tax reform, which you can hear Harris talk about here.

Madeline Janicki

Madeline is a producer for Spectrum News. You can watch her work on Pure Politics, the only statewide nightly show dedicated solely to Kentucky Politics. Madeline is an Indiana native and received her degree in Communications from Indiana University. Her background is as a news producer but her passion for civic engagement and drive to bring voters information on issues that impact their lives brought her to Pure Politics. Here she gets to work on projects like her multi-part digital series on how the national group Teach For America is working in Eastern Kentucky Schools. If you have a story idea, email her at Madeline.Janicki@charter.com.

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