Florence Co. Sheriff’s office relaunches DDACTS program
Florence County Sheriff’s Office has re-launched the innovative crime suppression and criminal patrol model known as “Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety” (DDACTS).
First implemented by FCSO in the summer of 2014, DDACTS is an operational model that uses the integration of location-based crime and traffic crash data to establish effective and efficient methods for deploying law enforcement resources. The goal of DDACTS is to reduce the incidents of crime and vehicle crashes in specifically targeted areas and thereby reduce overall social harm.
This model of enforcement was the result of a partnership among the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration and two agencies of the Department of Justice, theBureau of Justice Assistance and the National Institute of Justice.
Using geo-mapping to identify areas which have a high incidence of crime and vehicle crashes, DDACTS employs targeted high visibility traffic enforcement strategies which are proven to reduce both crime and vehicle crashes in particular areas, known as “hot spots.”
Research tell us that there is a clear correlation between vehicle crashes and incidents of crime. Motor vehicles are often used to transport criminals to and from a crime scene, and it is not uncommon for those vehicles to be involved in traffic violations or crashes during the process. If not directly involved in a crash, these vehicles are often the cause of other crashes. DDACTS renews an emphasis on traffic safety contacts, but not necessarily tickets. In the process of the high visibility enforcement of traffic regulations in a particular area, the deterrent effect of officer presence will affect both driving behavior and criminal activity. Most importantly, DDACTS just works.
The last time FCSO implemented DDACTS, we experienced a clear and definable reduction in crimes and vehicle crashes. Unlike some other models of enforcement, DDACTS is an open and transparent process which involves not just law enforcement, but the neighborhood watch organizations, homeowner’s associations, businesses in the area and media. Areas selected for high visibility enforcement are objectively chosen by the frequency of motor vehicle crashes and crimes and publicized ahead of time. Another goal of DDACTS is to build stronger relationships with stakeholders and other partners in the community.
To determine where to focus our enforcement efforts under DDACTS, FCSO receives crash data from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety on a monthly basis. We superimpose that data onto our own crime data and where the two appear to cluster on the heat map, a “hot spot” is revealed. This objective process of determining a “hot spot” allows for the monitoring and analysis of ongoing data, as well as flexible deployment strategies.
As the data show crime and crashes to move over time, DDACTS allows for the areas chosen for high visibility enforcement to move as well.
Initially, five “hot spots” have been selected for high visibility enforcement.
You can expect to see the traffic laws strictly enforced, not just by patrol units, but by other FCSO divisions in both marked and unmarked units in these areas. When in the high visibility enforcement areas, you will observe units operating their rear blue lights, even when not on a stop. In addition, routine citizen and pedestrian encounters will be increased. The five “hot spots” chosen for this period are as follows:
• South Cashua Drive area;
• E. Palmetto Street/ Highway 327;
• Howe Springs Road area; and
• Rae Street/Lassie Street in Lake City.
DDACTS has proved to be a court approved and successful model of enforcement all over the country. While several municipal jurisdictions employ DDACTS in South Carolina, FCSO was the first sheriff’s office in the state to implement the program.
“We know from past experience that DDACTS works to reduce social harm in our communities,” Sheriff Billy Barnes stated. “Now, with more reliable data and mapping capabilities, we are excited to reinstitute this enforcement model. In an era of increasing demands and limited resources, a model like DDACTS allows law enforcement the ability to do more without increasing costs. The success of DDACTS depends on the cooperation and involvement of the stakeholders in the community. We welcome the support of the various partnership groups and media as we re-implement this effective program.”