Citizens Police Review Board cancels discussion on alternative policing methods

CPD explores new strategies as homicides rise

COLUMBIA, Mo. - UPDATE: Detective Wilmoth was not at Wednesday night's meeting. Therefore, focused deterrence was not discussed. 

ORIGINAL: On the agenda for Wednesday's Citizens Police Review Board meeting is an alternative strategy for addressing the rise in violent crime in Columbia; it's called focused deterrence policing.

Past reports have described focused deterrence policing as a way to lower violent crime. It includes alternatives to jail for known criminals, a focus on community outreach, and providing the community and criminals with resources.

Detective Steve Wilmoth with the Columbia Police Department will be present to describe the strategy.

Columbia has seen a rise in homicides in the past few years. In 2015 police investigated one homicide and six in 2016. So far in 2017 police have investigated six homicides.

Past uses of focused deterrence policing

Focused deterrence policing has been used by other cities that are similar in size to Columbia. High Point, North Carolina describes their history using deterrence with a focus on reducing violent crime in this report.

The High Point Police Department says the strategy requires focus on "appropriate offender" and "hot spots," which are areas with a higher volume of crime. 

One element of the process of focused deterrence involved "telling violent offenders that any future crimes they commit will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, to include maximum prison time." Instead of being taken in custody, "offenders are offered a variety of community resources to help them change their lifestyles and to stop committing violent crimes."

"Since 1998, we have demonstrated that by using focused deterrence, even in areas where crime is excessively high, that we can significantly reduce crime," page six of the report reads. "In addition, we have proven that this can be done making fewer arrests. This combined with transparent methods, community involvement, and assistance to would-be-offenders has pushed our department to the nation’s forefront of violent crime reduction."

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