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Commissioner Steve Novick

Official Website for Commissioner Steve Novick

Phone: 503-823-4682

fax: 503-823-4019

1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204

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Portland Mercury: Covering with Fewer Cops, Mike Reese Turns to Science for Help with Police Staffing Woes

March 20, 2013 | Portland Mercury-- A harsh dose of fiscal reckoning appears nigh for the Portland Police Bureau—which is now facing, according to a new budget review, the prospect of widespread layoffs for the first time in almost 30 years.

But while concern and somber words over the bad news ruled a Portland City Council budget workshop on Monday, March 18, Police Chief Mike Reese also provided his own answer to the fretful question of how our cops might hold the line:

He's pitching Portland as the latest laboratory for a somewhat radical technique known as "hotspot" enforcement.

By ditching random patrols in favor of focusing on the few places that contribute an outsize amount of crime, it's a way of conceivably doing more with less. A preliminary analysis has found that 40 percent of the kinds of crimes a cop might stop just by standing by occur in less than four percent of Portland.

And for advocates and others who question whether police staffing levels already are too high at a time when serious crime is hitting historic lows, the idea is proving to be a powerful lure.

"Hotspot policing seems to be a way of using police officers more effectively, and it's one of the things that works," Commissioner Steve Novick, a police staffing skeptic, tells the Mercury.

Reese has long been at the vanguard of using data to bolster police work. But the prospect of a fundamental shift in tactics comes at a difficult time for the bureau. The final shape of READ FULL ARTICLE