$$$ Million Dollar HotSpots $$$

Crime is not spatially random, but clusters into small areas – hot spots of crime. Targeting those areas with a hot spots policing intervention, such as increasing patrols or working with community members, is a common-sense approach once your police department has identified those hot spots.

CRIME De-Coder has developed a methodology to identify hot spots of crime that have a high return-on-investment for police departments to conduct an intervention. It costs the police departments time and money to respond and investigate crimes. If you can prevent those crimes before they occur, it saves the department resources. So if there is enough crime, a hot spots strategy can pay for itself simply from a labor cost perspective to police departments.

Peter Moskos had a recent blog post identifying areas of shooting hot spots in Baltimore, and suggested it is worthwhile to have a series of officers assigned just to those areas. This prompted CRIME De-Coder to illustrate the methodology: in Baltimore, there is one location that CRIME De-Coder calls a Million-Dollar-HotSpot:

Centered at 2600 East Monument St. in Baltimore, this particular 0.14 square mile hot spot has had many crimes over the last 12 years. It averages around $3,000 in labor costs for Baltimore PD to respond to crimes per day. Below are the cumulative costs (generated via the Baltimore Open Crime Data) in that hotspot. More serious crimes, like homicides, take not only patrol resources but also detective resources to respond and investigate incidents.

Crime Count Cost
Homicide 31 $4,904,696
Agg. Assault 414 $4,246,398
Shooting 79 $810,303
Burglary 500 $741,000
Common Assault 558 $539,028
Larceny 371 $472,283
Robbery 153 $423,657
Rape 17 $409,734
Larceny From Auto 193 $186,438
Auto Theft 165 $159,390
Robbery - Commercial 15 $41,535
Robbery - Carjacking 11 $30,459
Arson 9 $8,694

Note that this methodology explicitly only estimates costs in terms of police labor costs. If you want to also estimate victim costs, such as medical expenses, it will increase the cost of crime estimates by a large margin.

But as is, these million dollar hot spots are no-brainers for police departments to implement a hot spots intervention. A hot spots strategy will likely save operational costs at these hotspots in the long run. Not to mention additional benefits to the greater community in reduced number of people being victimized.

If you are interested in seeing if your jurisdiction has a Million-Dollar-Hotspot, do not hesitate to contact CRIME De-Coder.