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LPS hopes data model will help manage prolific offenders

The Lethbridge Police Service has been using data analysis to better manage prolific offenders and more effectively deploy resources to problem areas resulting in a reduction in crime. 

CompStat is a data-driven model where analytics are used to identify high-crime areas, prolific offenders and the most effective deployment of police resources. It focuses on four core components: timely and accurate information or intelligence, rapid deployment of resources, effective tactics and relentless follow-up. 

The model was initially established by the NYPD in the 90s and has been leveraged by agencies worldwide. 

“LPS has been fully using and evolving the local CompStat model for almost a year with the objective of providing the right information to the right person at the right time and place in order to support data-based decisions,” says Deputy Chief Gerald Grobmeier, who oversees the CompStat program. 

Community safety is one of the pillars of the LPS four-year strategic plan and the use of CompStat is an initiative within the 2024 Annual Policing Plan to help reduce crime. 

In Lethbridge, CompStat data is used to identify the top most prolific offenders, enforce condition checks and identify problem addresses and geographic crime hot spots. 

With the establishment of a dedicated Crime and Strategic Analytics Section in 2023, crime analysts work to collect and analyze data from multiple sources starting from the moment a person calls dispatch. 

Information is shared service-wide using an intelligence portal and each month there is a cross-organizational meeting that includes external representation from parole, probation and the Crown’s office.

Various units and officers are assigned to locate wanted subjects, enforce conditions for individuals in the community released on bail or bound by conditional sentencing orders and develop enforcement and deployment strategies to address locations and addresses with a disproportionate volume of calls for service.  

In the relatively short time LPS has been using CompStat, there has been a 15 per cent reduction in occurrences involving subjects identified for monitoring and enforcement and a 60 per cent reduction in the Crime Severity Index for their offences. 

In each crime category – crimes against persons, crimes against property and drugs – the Top 5 most prolific offenders are identified. Individuals are ranked based on three months of data, but analysts look back three years to identify broader trends. 

Officers then make targeted efforts to locate offenders who have outstanding warrants or conduct regular condition checks for those who are bound by release conditions and lay charges if the individuals are found to be in breach.  

“About one per cent of offenders in the community account for just over eight per cent of all crime,” notes Grobmeier.

“Actively targeting these individuals for apprehension if they are wanted and to enforce conditions and lay charges when appropriate, is critical to our offender management strategy and efforts to reduce crime in the community.” 

As part of LPS’ enforcement efforts, prolific offenders identified by CompStat who have outstanding warrants will also be shared with media and featured on LPS social media channels to solicit public assistance in apprehending them. LPS is also encouraging the community to report crimes whenever they occur, so incidents are recorded. 

“In order to ensure we have the most complete picture of crime in our community, we need our citizens to report incidents,” adds Grobmeier.

“Thefts from vehicles, vehicle break-ins, suspicious activity – it’s all important and knowing where incidents are occurring means we can identify problem address, hot spot locations and other trends to develop effective deployment and enforcement strategies.” 

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