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Carson deputies have new partner in fighting crime

Jill Lufrano, Appeal Staff Writer

Knowing what types of crimes are likely to happen in which neighborhoods in Carson City day to day has been a guessing game, until recently.

Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong has instituted an approach to serving the community using computerized mapping, instant crime reports and tracking of program results.

“The response is immediate,” Furlong said.

The department’s implementation of a computer-aided approach to law enforcement started in July. The program, called CompStat, was first developed by the New York Police Department in 1994. It has swept through the country as the leading tool for crime prevention and enforcement.

Carson City joins the Nevada Highway Patrol as the second district to install the system locally.

Instead of the more traditional, rigid approach to policing, like assigning deputies to specific areas in the city, the department will be able to send officers and resources where they are needed, said Rick Keema, chief deputy of administrative services.

“It’s allowing us to utilize the events happening in our community to direct resources and energies to mitigate them,” he said.

For the past few years, officers have entered reports and numbers into Tiburon, a computer system purchased for $900,000 in 2001. Another $718,000 was spent in 2002 to add CompStat. The second component takes the numbers entered and compiles them in ways that can be used to track crime or statistics.

The department will be able to print out maps of the city showing exactly where different types of crimes occur, like domestic violence, speeding and burglaries.

By keeping track of the reports, supervisors will be able to assign officers and run programs to directly answer what the community may need, Keema said. They will also be more accountable to how effective they are serving the area.

July reports show, for instance, that officers responded to emergency calls within 7 minutes in the first three months of the year. It took them 1 minute longer on average in April, May and June.

On the other hand, supervisors can show that commercial burglaries have dropped by 51 percent, from 45 to 22, from the first quarter of the year to the second.

The reports also show an increase in traffic citations from last quarter. Between April and June, officers issued 1,357 violations, compared to 1,190 in the first quarter.

“The numbers don’t lie,” Keema said. “It’s more timely.”

The program is in its infancy, but Furlong said he expects it will grow and change as the department works with it. But that’s what the new philosophy is about, he said.

Monthly meetings will be held with department commanders and supervisors in which the department will identify what has been done, what needs to be done, who will do it, and what direction the department will take, Keema said.

“It involved everyone in the department,” he said. “In order for any of this to work, everyone needs to know what the problem is. We have the ability now to see everything that’s happened and to take timely action.”