Achieving a 10% reduction in a city's homicide rate can have a significant and immediate impact on a municipality's budget, opening up revenue that can further benefit public safety. In 2010, violent crimes across the United States cost Americans nearly $200 billion per year, including $46 billion in direct costs and nearly $156 billion indirect, intangible costs. (Shapiro, et al 2010)
With this in mind, we looked at our neighboring city San Bernardino. 2016 was a record year for violent crime in the city and this comes on the heals of a terrorist attack and recent recovery from bankruptcy. But San Bernardino is determined to help serve their community and it shows with 2017 banking their first municipal surplus in years allowing law enforcement and other community services to expand.
In 2016, San Bernardino had a total of 46 Homicides, each one having a direct tangible cost to the city of $1,612,041.66 with a total annual cost of $74,153,916.25. Reducing the Homicide Rate 10%, to a rate of 41.5 deaths, would directly correlate to a 10% or a $7,415,391.6 direct annual savings to the cities overall municipal budget.
In addition, a 10% reduction in San Bernardino Homicides should lead to a .83% increase in housing values the following year putting money back into home owners pockets while increasing tax revenue for the city.
With $7.4 million back in city coffers the municipality will be able to provide additional benefits to the community, this could include:
additional police officers and training
reduced property taxes
increased spending on housing and community development
increased spending on community services
increased parks and recreation budget
Increased spending on health and human services
increased economic development
increase homeless and housing assistance
A 10% crime reduction has a tremendous impact on a community and at Programmatic Investigations our goal is to be a strategic partner for law enforcement and municipalities by giving them visibility in the digital world. With so much of life being lived "virtually", it's important that law enforcement maintain a proximity with their community on the Internet. Proximity, according to retired FBI Behavior Analyst Jack Schafer, is the first step in building trust in the physical world. We at P.I. believe this is relevant in the digital world as well.
To clarify, P.I. does not claim to independently reduce crime rates, but that we strive to be a part of the solution; a strategy partner and modern crime fighting tool for law enforcement agencies charged with protecting their communities.
How do we propose to do this? One way is our innovative Digital Canvass that allows investigators to find witnesses in "closed door" or distant neighborhoods. We create compelling short form videos, then distribute them to hyper-targeted groups in specific neighborhoods. Our targeting ability allows us to feature a case on all social media platforms, plus the most popular websites on the internet like: MTV, Home & Garden, CNN, and many more.
This "Inbound" strategy communicates on a channel the public is familiar and comfortable with. For example, a banner display is asking for information; the viewer clicks on the banner that links to a compelling video highlighting the case and calling the viewer action; below the video a confidential submission form is clearly displayed, giving the tipster an option to leave personal information. The viewer is coming to police with information and this is the "Inbound" strategy that marketing agencies use to generate leads for their brand clients.
If this technology can be used to generate sales, why can't we use it to generate public safety and stronger community relations between municipalities and the communities they serve?
That is the question that drives us forward. What are your thoughts? Do you think Programmatic Investigations and a Digital Canvassing platform can help law enforcement reduce crime in their cities?
Economic Benefits from Reducing Crime Violence, Robert J Shapiro & Kevin Hasset, Center for American Progress, 2010
The Cost of Crime to Society: New Crime Specific Estimates for Policy and Program Evaluation, McCollister, et al 2010, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Health
The Like Switch, Jack Schafer, Marvin Karlin, 2015