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Association of Prosecuting Attorneys

Las Vegas Police, Academics Team Up with Residents to Address Crime Problems

July 19, 2012
Frequent problems at apartments near the Rio and Gold Coast grated at Metro Police officers' nerves. It was the same story year after year: many calls, no real solutions. Eight months ago, officers decided to pursue a new approach based on residents' perspectives. After all, if ongoing crime issues frustrated officers, how did the people living in the apartments feel? To that end, the Apartment Complex Empowerment Initiative emerged, McCarthy said. Officers teamed with Tamara Madensen, an assistant professor of criminal justice at UNLV, to glean information from residents and use existing research to curb crime issues, McCarthy said. Madensen also shared research about problem-oriented policing with officers. Problem-oriented policing emphasizes using preventive strategies and recruiting community resources to address problems without involving the criminal justice system, according to the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing. "The neat thing about it is it's very structured," Madensen said. "A lot of times we just throw everything at a problem." The goal is to create long-term change rather than only temporary reductions in crime, Madensen said. "It's really exciting to see this type of partnership between academia and practitioners," she said. "We're using research to solve problems."
Las Vegas Sun