|The Organization, the Mission and the Process:|
The Substance Under the LETS UmbrellaTHE FINE PRINT DISCLAIMER: While LETS doesn't generally accept donations for it's activities and support of Community Watch and Patriotwatch, we do accept advertising contributions. The exception is special projects to support crime victims, youth, veterans, our troops and their families. In this case, crafts and products may be offered to offset costs of specific projects. No services are rendered or implied to be provided to the contributors in exchange for donations. Community Watch, Graffiti Watch, Victim's Advocacy and Patriot Watch activities are provided by a volunteer organization not engaged in private security patrols and is not a state licensed private patrol operator or security service. Volunteer watch activities are for the community as a whole and intended to improve the quality of life and public safety in our city. This policy and disclaimer has been reviewed and approved by Sacramento Police Department, the Office of the Sacramento City Attorney and found to be in compliance with local ordinances.
LETS TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER PROGRAM
Since its inception in 1992, LETS has demonstrated that an agency, can in fact, do more with less. How? SmartUse©! Technology vendors supply products to LETS-TTP in Sacramento. Whether in "beta test" or available "off the shelf" LETS in turn makes products available to law enforcement agencies or crime prevention groups who have expressed an interest in evolving technology.
Since 1992, LETS and it's "Technology Partners" have sponsored seminars and co-op booths at trade shows in New York, Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. The mission of these joint projects is to acquaint agencies with the availability of emerging technology and afford them a "no-strings attached" opportunity to test its applicability to their needs. Technology Partners provide needed support through LETS, on-sight or via the Internet. Participating agencies incur neither cost nor obligation to purchase TP's products other than to report back on the results.
These results are often reported in "White Papers" distributed at law enforcement conferences and trade shows. They may also be featured in LETS technology videos that are used in seminars. A key benefit to the partner is feedback and the potential for product enhancements prior to marketing them to government. Technology Partners often contribute financially to the LETS-TTP and it's various nonprofit activities as project or conference sponsors. In past years, sponsors have included divisions of GTE MobileNet, AT&T Wireless (Lucent Technologies), Motorola, Lexis-Nexis, RAM Mobile Data, CompuServe, Minnesota Western, Sharp, Logitech, Wang, Norris Communications, Semantic, Thomas Brother's Maps, Power Tech, Impact Solutions and a host of other leading technology innovators.
First Case History 1994
Sacramento Community Watch seeks help from police to document series vandalism in the central city and midtown. The financial crimes unit candidly admits there are limited resources to investigate, let alone document, the rapidly increasing incidents of graffiti vandalism in the city. Additionally, patrol officers seldom have camera equipment in the cars and crime scene investigators are often backlogged on calls of a more serious nature.
|Problem: How do citizen volunteers take the hundreds of photos required to document a series crime and keep track of the locations in an efficient manner?|
Community Watch initiated nightly bike patrols in the central business district. It set up its patrol plan on a detailed parcel map provided by the City's Neighborhood Services Department. The large format afforded by the wall map displayed each lot in the target areas. This became the "Bike Patrol Grid Map" that was used to monitor "hot spots" and tagger's vandalism patterns. Community Watch then purchased inexpensive 35mm cameras with date-stamp capabilities. As incidents were reported to the group's hotline or found on patrols, volunteers took sequential photos. One team took photos on numbered streets while the other documented vandalism incidents on lettered streets.
Community Watch then purchased inexpensive 35mm cameras with date-stamp capabilities. As incidents were reported to the group's hotline or found on patrols, volunteers took sequential photos. One team took photos on numbered streets while the other documented vandalism incidents on lettered streets.
Norris Communications has provided Flashback digital recorders to LETS for evaluation. These were pressed into service by Community Watch to keep an audio log of the photos taken by bike patrol volunteers. The conventional micro cassette tape recorder had not withstood the rigors of street life on bicycles. The more durable Flashback units could be dropped, run over and proved moisture resistant in the field. Each 2-megabyte "sound clip" was capable of recording 32 minutes of sound. In practice, that amounted to documenting well over 100 incidents..
When prints were returned from the photo lab, recorded notes from the Flashback were written on the back of each photo. This information included location, time, and vandal crew if known photographer and victim. The laptop computer that was used for the database was updated. A form was then provided to the victim so a police report could be generated. Where possible, this form was faxed to our Center and the report uploaded by Community Watch to the Police Department's "On-line Crime Reporting" site on the Internet. A report number was then returned by PD via e-mail and noted on both the photo and in the database. The victim was then contacted and asked if they would be willing to prosecute once a suspect was identified. The photo was then scanned for future use and delivered to police as evidence.
The first test of this strategy came on April 1, 1997 when a Community Watch K-9 team volunteer spotted an adult serial vandal working his way through midtown. Bret and his "partner" Ali, contacted the Center and Bike 1 responded. Together, they found the suspect on a second story commercial building where he had "thrown up" a six foot high graffiti tag. The suspect was advised he was under arrest and detained for police. Responding officers took custody of the vandal along with exposed film in his camera, a sketch book and other items in his backpack including paint and markers. Police were enthusiastic when they learned that Community Watch had a backlog of photos attributed to this previously unidentified serial criminal. The investigating patrol officer reviewed the photos with staff at the SCCW Center and then took the pictures to the county jail. The officer placed all the pictures on a table including two photos of incidents we knew the vandal hadn't done. The suspect promptly pulled out those two photos and admitted to having vandalized property depicted in the remaining prints. Ultimately, thanks to police and the District Attorney, this serial vandal received a lengthy jail term, with a five years prison sentence hanging over his head and probation terms that barred him from entering our neighborhoods. He was also ordered to make restitution to his victims.
NOTE: To view video from the start hit F5 or Refresh Browser.
IMPORTANT UPDATE - 6-20-13
Sacramento Police Department and Nextdoor.com Join Forces to Work with Neighborhoods
A connected community is a safer community. In an effort to help facilitate a virtual neighborhood watch program in Sacramento and to help foster neighbor-to-neighbor communications, the Sacramento Police Department has partnered with Nextdoor (www.nextdoor.com), the private social network for neighborhoods.
With today’s victory covered here this Police Department partnership with Nextdoor Sacramento couldn’t come at a better time and would have been helpful to our recent effort. All in all: GOOD NEWS knowing it’s in keeping with Chief Somers’ vision of Community Policing, bringing back beat officers and support neighborhood watch groups.
Crimewatch is there! To JOIN CLICK HERE
Read Sacramento Police Department's Press Release: CLICK HERE
Like online reports, there are still a few things to work out to better serve our city and support our police officers and the District Attorney. Join in that effort. All are welcome.
The opportunity exists to build on this highly successful model. Phase II is intended to employ emerging technology to aid police in apprehending other criminals. Even though thirty-two suspects were prosecuted and convicted for their graffiti vandal crimes, others remain at large and are vandalizing other parts of the city. Partners are being sought to test countermeasures in the following product areas:
LETS-TTP offers a unique application for market development funds and potential advertising investment for its partners. While LETS and it's test agencies generally do not make product endorsements, exposure to the public safety market comes through venues we've discussed here on the net. When an agency requests information about use of technology, we refer them to other agencies that have successfully implemented similar applications. The concept is simple! Government cannot afford to reinvent the wheel.
As a technology partner, suppliers are expected to support the product technically, participate in trade shows or seminars with synergistic products and where appropriate, fund community-based efforts and the LETS mission. Here again, this concept is simple: If we can do it here, it can be done anywhere.
Continue to Seminars & Conferences Page
Return to Front Page or Previous Page
E-mail Community Watch via:
Continue to Seminars & Conferences Page