Local crime reduction plan praised
by By DAVID DAVIS Managing Editor
Sep 06, 2012 | 614 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The man who evaluates the data collected by a crime reduction partnership said Wednesday other cities could learn from the Cleveland program.

Doug Bailey, president of Performance Vistas, a Roswell, Ga., nonprofit research organization, interprets information submitted through the local Tennessee Targeted Community Crime Reduction Grant partnership.

Cleveland is one of six cities in the state participating in a three-year grant designed to reduce crime related to the use of alcohol and drugs and to break the familial cycle of incarceration and recidivism. The focus is on two areas in south and southeast Cleveland.

The $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice began Jan. 1, 2011, and ends June 30, 2013. The grant funds two police officers, a patrol car, services provided by Boys & Girls Clubs, Behavioral Research Institute counseling programs and Bradley County Juvenile Courts.

Bailey told the funded partners during a monthly meeting at the Bradley County Juvenile Justice Center, “The data shows you guys are doing good.”

He said he hoped for a more rigorous evaluation in the future, “but that won’t happen if you are not doing what you said you would do.” Continuing, he said, “I think you guys get it.”

He said the money is for a specific reason and what happens in the participating cities could be beneficial to the rest of the state.

“You are carrying a big load,” he said. “When this program first started, there was no one else out there doing this stuff.”

Each of the four partners briefly described how they fit in the partnership.

Behavior Research Institute Coordinating Counselor Michelle Johnson said she views the grant as a two-pronged approach with BRI helping parents and juvenile courts working on children. The goal is to have the family group functioning as a family unit.

“If you can change the parent, the child is more apt to follow what their parents are doing. Right now, the parents are struggling with drug addiction, so if we can help them, we will be helping the family unit,” she said. “That’s the goal of this grant, to help this community be healthier in the sense of drug and alcohol addiction.”

Youth Services Officer Nancy Stanfield explained that a computer-based mapping system developed by the Bradley County Juvenile Justice Center answered several questions: Where are juvenile offenders? What are they doing? How does the juvenile court system become more proactive?

Stanfield said she wanted a system that would benefit youth service officers and other agencies by knowing who their probationers lived near, and what types of crimes were being committed in those areas.

Cleveland Police officer Tyler Pride talked about how the department has collaborated with Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland to improve the lives of juveniles. He also presented a long list of statistics showing the results of drug sweeps and traffic stops.

“It seems that you have data I don’t have,” Bailey said after Pride’s presentation.

Bailey said it is too early to tell if the effort is having an impact on the community, but documentation is absolutely necessary. “The days of ‘trust me’ are gone.”

Continuing, he said it is not enough to be partners. Success will only be achieved by developing a culture of collaboration. What gets accomplished will be accomplished through relationships and relationships are also the key to sustainability.

He said it is important to be able to say crime has decreased in one area or if it moved to another.

“Hopefully, it didn’t just move to somewhere else,” he said.