Crime Prevention Uses Real Time Technology
Photos by Carol Rock
In March 2011, after months of planning and development, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station launched the first phase of the new Crime Prevention Unit (CPU). The unit was formed in direct collaboration with the city of Santa Clarita and the County of Los Angeles under the leadership and direction of Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Captain Paul Becker.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station provides law enforcement services for the 55 square-miles of the city of Santa Clarita and the 593 square-miles of unincorporated Los Angeles County, protecting a population of more than 260,000 residents.
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As the station’s area of responsibility has grown over the years to become the 4th largest city by population in Los Angeles County and the 26th largest in the State of California, Captain Becker recognized an immediate need to compartmentalize law enforcement research and services to best maximize the utilization and deployment of resources, identify crime trends and offenders, and more efficiently and effectively serve all the residents of the Santa Clarita Valley.
With the station averaging more than 55,000 calls per service and processing 20,000 crime reports annually, there has always been the potential for minute details, important to solving and preventing crime, to be delayed in process. This is no longer the case with the formation of the new Crime Prevention Unit.
As the Crime Prevention Unit and its concepts were being developed, the project leader from the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station worked for months directly with Geographic Information System (GIS) Specialists from the city of Santa Clarita to identify and map 8 color-coded Crime Prevention Zones encompassing the entire Santa Clarita Valley.
These numbered zones were created to provide manageable geographical boundaries and identifiers, giving deputies and crime research analysts the ability to scrutinize every element of crime, identify and dissect trends, and ultimately review and direct needed resources, almost immediately, to criminal and nuisance problems.
Allocation of the resources is determined by station leaders through comprehensive weekly operational meetings where details of all Part-1 crimes are discussed, logged on Zone Briefing Reports and addressed like never before in the station’s history.
Each of the 8 Crime Prevention Zones is overseen by a Zone Leader Deputy Sheriff who is responsible for a detailed review of all crime within their zone on a daily basis. These Zone Leaders are known as the Crime Prevention Team (CPT).
Using real time crime data tracking involving mapping technology; detailed electronically generated crime analysis reports, designed and created by personnel assigned to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Crime Analysis Program; and immediate access to digital incident report files and a crime tip database, the zone leaders have crime information in a virtual environment at their fingertips.
These new structures and systems provide zone leaders with the ability to reasonably manage every incident occurring in their area of responsibility and review every report for even the smallest of details.
Once the analyses is complete, zone leaders then coordinate or conduct operations to combat the identified problems; share the information with the appropriate resources, such as patrol deputies, detective bureau or other specialized units; and even notify the public on how they can get involved with prevention efforts.
Armed with information from their research, zone leaders attend patrol briefings to inform station staff, reach out through crime or public safety bulletins, and ultimately work towards immediately addressing the issue or solving the crime before time passes and the criminals actions escalate to the level of a crime spree.
To further assist zone leaders, a mapping area was developed within the Crime Prevention Unit utilizing gridwall technology. The area serves as a bullpen where deputies and investigators can converse and strategize about crime prevention and enforcement efforts. Community groups are also brought into the Crime Prevention Unit where they are given a comprehensive overview and information pertinent to crime prevention efforts in their neighborhoods.
As yet another element of the continued development of the Crime Prevention Unit, a Crime Research Center was created and launched in July 2011. The Crime Research Center is the first of its kind at any of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s 26 Sheriff’s patrol stations. It provides an area where zone leaders and crime analysts can utilize the latest technology platforms, satellite imagery, GPS tracking systems, live camera monitoring devices, and innovative software solutions to research and combat crime in the Santa Clarita zones. The Crime Research Center provides zone leaders with an incredible tool to more effectively share information.
Zone leaders use visual concepts, data tracking involving stunning high definition graphical systems, real time desktop sharing, sex offender and parolee information and tracking, and graffiti and gang tagging identification mapping overlays.
Future features will include video conferencing systems and integrated recorded messages to reach out to deputies on all shifts with the simple touch of a button, even when the zone leader is not on duty.
In addition to their Zone Leader responsibilities, the deputies on the CPT also serve as a resource in assisting other station units with special operations, compliance, checks, search warrants, crime tip investigations, surveillance operations, emergencies, and developing-dynamic incidents.
The center utilizes SmartBoard HD Interactive Technology and a super computer. In addition to the above functions, the center is also used to assist in training new deputies, the coordination of patrol units and resources during containments or active and dynamic rapidly evolving situations of any magnitude in the station’s area of responsibility, as an operations center for elaborate and complex covert surveillance and search warrant operations, and soon as a dispatch and information intelligence center during Emergency Operations Center (EOC) activations.
Funding for the Crime Research Center was primarily provided by the city of Santa Clarita at a cost $15,000 with supplemental funding of $3,776 through the Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program – Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Staying informed helps keep our community safe.
The Crime Prevention Unit has adopted the motto: Information is Power!
Questions regarding the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Crime Prevention Unit or Crime Research Center can be directed to the unit’s Operations Lieutenant Robert Lewis at (661) 799-5815 or Operations Sergeant Darren Harris at (661) 799-5814.
A Web based application will soon be available that will allow residents to input their address and be immediately routed to the contact information of their assigned Deputy Zone Leader.
Routine calls for service or report requests should be directed to the Sheriff's Station's main telephone number - (661) 255-1121. Emergencies to 9-1-1.
Deputy Zone Leaders can be reached as follows:
Zone 2 - Castaic Val Verde Areas
Zone Leader - Deputy Ana Rubalcava - firstname.lastname@example.org
(661) 255-1121 ext. 4283
Zone 3 - Stevenson Ranch Area
Zone and Team Leader
Sergeant Ron Olfert - email@example.com
Zone 4 - Saugus Area
Deputy Mark Manskar - firstname.lastname@example.org
Zone 5 - Valencia Area
Deputy Regina Yost - email@example.com
Zone 6 - Newhall Area
Deputy Joshua Dubin - firstname.lastname@example.org
(661) 255-1121 ext. 4411
Zone 7 - Canyon Country West
Deputy Jeremy Carr - email@example.com
Zone 8 - Canyon Country East
Deputy Jeff Jackson - firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Relations and Events
Deputy Joe Trejo - email@example.com
Residents who wish to track reported crimes in their areas should visit www.crimemapping.com.
Partner to prevent or report crime by contacting your local Sheriff’s station. Or if you wish to remain Anonymous, call “LA Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.
A free TipSubmit mobile application is now available for the iPhone® and Android™. The new software tool is an anonymous and fully featured crime tipping mobile application that even allows you to submit images or video. More information at www.tipsoft.com.