Measuring Ourselves

One of my most important roles is to try to figure out whether we are as effective (and efficient) as we can be in our duties as police and fire.  On the fire side I am learning more about how to measure effectiveness by studying the emergency medical and the firefighting functions.  On the police side, I have long been looking at what we do to increase the effectiveness of our systems. 

One way we do that is to take a look at our Michigan Incident Crime Reporting report.   We receive these reports quarterly for our own department.  I don’t know where I can find comparative data for other communities at this point in time so we are not able to benchmark ourselves using an apples to apples comparison since MICR data is unpublished, to my knowledge.

In any case, I do use the report I get to make some comparisons of ourselves year to year.  I recently got my report from the state and I dug out the 2009 report for the same January to September period to compare our work.  The report lists 64 offenses both felony and misdemeanor and gives summary data in 8 categories:  victim total, total incidents, number of arrests, exceptionally cleared (we know who did it but can’t prosecute), clearance rate, current year offenses, offenses for the previous year and percent change previous year to current year. 

  Victim Total Total Incidents Number of Arrests Exceptionally Cleared Clearance Rate Current Yr Offenses Previous Yr Offenses Percent Change
2009 1,074 1,625 693 123 50% 1,813 1,950 -7%
2012 842 1,802 829 203 57% 1,983 1,920 3.3%

I consider these very positive indicators.  Although we have fewer officers now than in 2009 and we had more incidents reported, we made more arrests and cleared more cases in 2012 than in 2009.  This information is a much more clear statement for me on the effectiveness of the police.  Rates of reported crime are not as useful for a police manager since I cannot impact that as directly.  In fact one could argue that if people in a community have confidence in the police they will report more crimes. 

I also use this data to study where we are clearing at a lower rate so that we can consider ways to improve our training, evidence gathering, intelligence sharing or whatever we think we need to improve our clearance/arrests in a particular category. 

We continue to be proud of the high quality work of our officers and detectives in serving this community by holding perpetrators accountable and reducing victimization.