Putting drug dealers behind bars, arresting Mexican nationals selling cocaine and fake ID’s and curbing gang activity will be the focus of the Mission Police District for 2010, a team from that department told Cmdr. Jeff Godown.
“When you get drug users and drug dealers off the streets, you also get an auto burglar, a thief, you’re getting people who are committing a lot of other crimes,” said Capt. Greg Corrales of the Mission Police Station. “The whole goal of getting drug dealers off the street is to make the Mission District a safe place for everyone to live.”
Those goals were responses to Godown’s questioning on their plan to reduce crime in the Mission during Wednesday’s CompStat meeting. As a new initiative on coming to office, Police Chief George Gascón implemented CompStat, a crime tracking system that allows police from all 10 districts to follow crime trends and collect suspect profiles from all districts, in October.
The Mission District’s latest CompStat numbers show a slight increase in the number of violent crimes from 72 to 75, in the last 28-day cycle – from Dec. 6, 2009 to Jan. 2, 2010, compared to the same period last year.
Those crimes include two reports of rape.
At the same time, the number of arrests for violent crimes has decreased by 23 percent, according to CompStat figures.
Property theft decreased by 23 percent.
In his stern line of questioning, often interrupting the speaker, Godown appeared unsatisfied by some of the answers he received from police leaders.
“The commanding officers need to come in and demonstrate that they understand what the crime problems are and that they have a plan of attack on how they’re going to solve it,” Godown said.
Gascón recruited Godown from the Los Angeles Police Department, where he headed Los Angeles’ CompStat effort.
Godown asked commanders and other police district leaders what their main concerns are for 2010 and how they can achieve a 20 percent crime reduction.
One sergeant said he plans to focus on two groups of Mexican nationals: those selling fake identification cards and a group from Mexico City selling cocaine.
By the end of the meeting, Godown had given everyone from foot patrol and plainclothes officers to commanders, lieutenants and captains a to do list.
Among the tasks are tracking how much overtime each department uses and what that time is used for; filling activity cards detailing how many arrests, citations and radio responds police officers make; and improved police reports.
“Some of the narratives are four lines,” Godown said sounding disappointed. “Some reports look like a four year-old wrote it.”
He wondered if officers received training on how to write reports.
As for Godown’s goals for 2010? He told Mission Loc@l that is to create a better system of communication between police districts, service agencies and the district attorney’s office.
“I’d like to see the restructuring where the information is flowing…there’s not a lot of communication between patrol and detectives,” he said, adding that the introduction of the crime tracking system was a step in the right direction.
“This is a huge change for this department. And it’s just going to take some time. Every day we’re taking more steps and we’re progressing with the goals.”