It’s not exactly out of the “Minority Report” but the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department is adopting an analysis program enabling deputies to forecast crime.
The system that takes data such as who has been released from jail, who is incarcerated, various crimes with their method of operations, and where crimes have taken place in the past and victimology is part of an overall game plan by Sheriff Steve Moore to maximize resources as the county continues to recover from recession cutbacks and deals with increased growth.
And while the program Moore said is based on successful endeavors in Europe won’t predict specific criminal acts at a specific location and at a specific time such as in the “Minority Report” science fiction movie, it will arm the sheriff’s department with better information to:
uPrioritize patrols and investigations.
Develop effective strategies and tactics to prevent future crimes.
uEducate the public to make them more effective partners in crime prevention.
uPlan for future resource needs to target specific crimes in specific areas.
uDetect and solve community problems to improve public safety and the quality of life.
The program in many jurisdictions has also helped solve crimes as well as locate and apprehend offenders.
Moore, who is in his third term of sheriff, outlined efforts now underway to enhance law enforcement services such as the jail, evidence processing, and the coroner’s office that directly impacts all of San Joaquin County’s 750,000 residents as well as deputy patrols for rural areas last week during a meeting of the Manteca Rotary Club at Ernie’s Rendezvous Room
A pending $32.3 million grant from $250 million set aside in the state budget that hinges on it not being raided by the legislature during the current budget talks will be matched by the county to build a medium security facility at the jail complex.
This would provide 470 additional beds allowing the county to address criticisms about offenders being arrested and held without bail or who are convicted and sentenced to county jail for crimes being released significantly ahead of time due to jail space issues.
And while currently court-ordered releases at the county jail due to overcrowding have been reduced to a minimum, Moore wants to help law enforcement countywide including in the county’s seven cities to be able to make a dent in misdemeanor and quality of life crimes to work to end the “catch and release” situation created with lack of jail space.
One area it will make a big difference are with transients arrested for theft.
Currently they are typically booked and released even if there is a bail required because of space issues. That puts them out on the street where they typically continue stealing. It is a situation made worse by court dates that are 30 days out and are often postponed. Then, when there is finally a conviction that carries a term in the county jail, much of the sentence is rarely served due to space issues.
The on-going costs to staff the medium security facility will not increase significantly.
“We will use our current honor farm staffing to serve as correctional officers (for the medium security facility),” Moore said.
Moore noted barracks at the honor farm are targeted to be converted into a true “detox” center for those arrested for public drunkenness or driver under the influence. Currently such individuals are held in the jail for eight hours and then released.
“We need to give them the help they need to try and break the cycle,” Moore said.
The department is also expanding “community cars” in the South County. It involves deputies deployed in much the same as police officers that once walked beats. Not only do they respond faster to crime by being stationed in specific geographic areas of the county, but they are assigned to get to know the community better that allows them to be more effective at reducing the potential for crime.
“It (community cars) has been an effective way at reducing the crime rate,” Moore said.
At the same time the department’s animal services division has doubled the number of animal control officers since 2011 to eight to be more effective at dealing with unique rural animal issues.
Moore is also close to increasing deputy patrol time with the hiring of the department’s second full-time pathologist. The sheriff is also the county coroner. That means the office must respond to any unattended death anywhere in San Joaquin County as well as handle murder cases.
A deputy responding to such a call can be tied up at least four hours. While trained, they don’t have the level that a pathologist does. By deploying the second pathologist on the day shift it will free deputies up.
The second position will also augment contracted pathologists to help speed up processing of cause of deaths reports and other issues.
The department is securing a ballistics testing machine critical to prosecute shooting cases. The sheriff’s office along with other cities has been using the Stockton Police Department’s equipment. But due to the volume of cases Stockton deals with, it often delays other agencies processing cases.
Moore said the ballistic machine will be accessible to cities such as Manteca and Tracy with his department providing training for crime technicians.
The sheriff also has been able to restore the Friday and Saturday air surveillance flights and is in the process of equipping all deputies with body cameras.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com