• Using Problem-Oriented Policing to Reduce Sexual Assaults

      Rosay, André B.; Langworthy, Robert H. (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2004-05-13)
      Alaska generally and Anchorage specifically have been plagued by the incidence of sexual assaults. From 1982 to 2001, the rate of forcible rape per 100,000 in Anchorage was, on average, 122 percent higher than the U.S. rate. To combat this problem, the authors engaged in a problem-oriented policing exercise in cooperation with the Anchorage Police Department. They began this exercise by performing a detailed descriptive analysis of sexual assaults in Anchorage. Data were collected from 541 reports of sexual assault cases reported to the Anchorage Police Department in 2000 and 2001. These data contain detailed information on the assaults, victims, and suspects. Using crime-mapping technologies, hot spots of sexual assaults were identified and profiles developed for each hot spot. With this detailed understanding of the characteristics of each hot spot, empirically-based strategies were developed to reduce the occurrence of sexual assaults. After implementing each strategy, an evaluation of whether the occurrence of sexual assaults had significantly declined was performed. This presentation focuses on the initial stages of problem-oriented policing—the identification and explanation of hot spots. More specifically, the utility of using crime-mapping technologies in the identification of hot spots of sexual assaults is documented and the necessity of using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to explain where and why sexual assaults are geographically concentrated is described. With a better understanding of the nature of sexual assaults, it has been possible to develop and implement more successful intervention strategies.