Life is getting tougher for criminals in New Haven.
In a meeting Thursday morning that included New Haven police officers and information analysts, members of the New Haven Police Department outlined Tactical and Administrative Strategies through Crime Analysis, their new technological approach to crime reduction.
By analyzing compilations of the types, times and locations of calls, the Tactical and Administrative Strategies, or TASCA, will allow the police to focus on problem areas, formulate solutions to ongoing problems and better communicate between shifts to coordinate their efforts. This sophisticated new technology will also let police use computerized methods to look for relationships between when and where certain crimes are committed.
New Haven Police Chief Melvin H. Wearing said the addition of this new computerized crime analysis will help the department maintain the 50 percent reduction in crime the city has seen over the last decade.
TASCA will provide detailed charts and maps, which focus on time periods ranging from the last three months to the past week, that show the number of various types of calls, days of the week on which they were received and even the specific times of day they were placed. Data is also available for both New Haven as a whole and for each individual community.
“Data is going to give us the ability to deploy officers at peak times when crimes happen,” Wearing said.
Also, the new system will identify which regions of the city have consistently been most successful at dealing with crime so that successful strategies can be employed in other parts of the city. For instance, the Dixwell neighborhood — also known as District 6 — is known in the department for its low crime rate.
“What’s going on in District 6 that’s not in other districts?” Wearing said.
Particularly helpful to the department are maps that display where certain types of calls come from and the movement of these types of calls over time. A computer technology called Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, helps the NHPD compile and analyze this information.
The NHPD also seeks to interact with each district on a more personal level than data analysis alone.
Wearing emphasized that working with the community, an NHPD priority according to the department’s mission statement, will be an important part of the initiative. Officers at the meeting discussed individualized strategies for resolving particular issues throughout New Haven.
As the holidays approach, managing crime in the downtown area is becoming a priority for the NHPD, Assistant Chief Douglas P. MacDonald said. With children on vacation from school, busy shopping days, snowstorms and the increased alcohol consumption that sometimes accompanies holiday celebrations, police said they expect to have their hands full.
He said that Christmas Eve is typically a busy night for the NHPD, so analysis of last year’s figures can be used to figure out “some kind of intervention.”
“We should look and see what we can do in anticipation,” he said.