May 30th, 2024

Analytics helping LPS to combat crime


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on April 26, 2024.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Analytics manager with the Lethbridge Police Service, Stephane Contre gives a presentation on data-driven policing Monday at the Lethbridge Public Library Main Branch.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Members of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce had the opportunity to learn about how analytics is helping the Lethbridge Police Service focus their resources to combat crime during a presentation Monday afternoon at the Lethbridge Public Library.

After a brief introduction by LPS Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh, Stephane Contre, analytics manager for LPS began his presentation by explaining what Compstat was and how they are using it.

Contre explained that CompStat is computer statistics, a crime reduction strategy that is data driven and is used to identify high crime areas, prolific offenders and the most effective deployment of police resources. CompStat was initially developed and successfully used by the New York Police Department in the 1990s and it has been used by agencies worldwide.

During his presentation, Contre highlighted the four CompStat Core components, which include timely and accurate information and intelligence, rapid deployment of resources, effective tactics and relentless follow-up.

He also talked about the focused areas of prolific offenders, conditions checks, problem location which refers to addresses with a disproportionate volume of calls for service and crime hot spots which refers to geographic locations with a disproportionate volume of crime.

Contre also spoke about the impact CompStat has on subjects’ behaviour and how that has helped on crime reduction. He explained that since using CompStat, LPS has seen 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 of their offences.

He explained how an offender’s CSI score is calculated, which helps LPS in identifying prolific offenders based on their score.

Contre explained that each crime someone can be charged with has a score that is used across the country to allow for a uniform system. For example one count of cocaine production carries a CSI score of 226.47 and he explained this is based on the number of days that offender can spend in jail if found guilty of the offence.

He went on to explain that an offender’s CSI score is based on the sum of his offences’ CSI scores.

Contre provided the following example in his presentation:

An offender is charged with one count of cocaine production (CSI score of 226.47), two counts of fraud (CSI score of 121.72 each), four counts of theft over $5,000 (CSI score of 144.41 each), and one count of assault of a peace officer level 1 (CSI score of 40.19). By adding the CSI scores of each offence, while multiplying those that have multiple counts, the offender’s CSI score is 1,087.74.

After the presentation, Mehdizadeh explained why is important for police to share this information with the public.

“I want our citizens to know what the police is doing and how we’re doing it to keep the city safe and promote a safer community for everyone,” said Mehdizadeh.

He said he wants to make sure residents know what is happening, so they have a better understanding on how things work, why resources are deployed the way they are and how that is benefiting the community as a whole.

Contre explained that even though LPS has been using CompStat for a few years now, it has only been within the last year that they have really focused on putting accountability around officers to use the information provided by CompStat to combat crime and they now have results to show for.

“I can tell you that about one per cent of our top offenders are responsible for about eight per cent of all the crime in Lethbridge, so we’re actually targeting those specific individuals and in doing so we’ve been very successful in reducing the amount of crime that these individuals have done,” said Contre.

Mehdizadeh added that the presentation will be shared with the general public during their Northside Town Hall meeting and those interested in learning more about it are encouraged to attend.

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