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Current Council Agenda and Past Meeting Information


Meeting Date: October 28, 2008

Subject/Title: Receive Report on Police benchmarks and provide direction, if any, to staff.

Prepared by: Pamela Ehler, Director of Finance & Information Systems
Mark Evenson, Chief of Police

Submitted by: Donna Landeros, City Manager

1) Receive report on Police benchmarks;
2) Approve the following benchmarks:
a) Response times
b) Incidents of Crime and Crime rates
c) Workload
d) Clearance rates
3) Direct staff to present an annual benchmark report to Council in a public safety workshop, prior to the preparation of the Recommended Budget.

At the City Council Meeting of June 24, 2008, staff presented a police staffing report discussing Municipal Code Section 2.28.030 and identifying several possible benchmarks that could be used to assess police staffing needs. That report is attached.

There was Council concurrence for staff to further refine the proposed benchmarks and to bring that to the Council in October 2008.

The City Council adopted Ordinance No. 648 in September, 2000 which enacted Brentwood Municipal Code section 2.28.030 and set the level of sworn officer staffing at 1.5 officers per 1,000 residents. When the ordinance was adopted the actual ratio of sworn officer staffing in the City of Brentwood was 1.2. The ratio of 1.5 per 1,000 residents was recommended by the Police Chief based on the FBI average of the cities in the Western United States in the year 2000.

As discussed in detail at the June 24th City Council meeting, the City Attorney reviewed the effect of Ordinance No. 648 and believes that although it was a clear statement of City Council policy in 2000, it is not legally binding on the City Council in 2008. This is because the California Constitution requires, with limited exceptions (none of which appear applicable here), that the establishment of city budgets and expenditures is the responsibility of the current council and that budget priorities cannot be bindingly established by previous councils. In other words, a City Council may not incur a general fund obligation that cannot be satisfied in the current year’s budget. Section 2.28.030's requirement of hiring a particular number of police officers is set forth as a general fund obligation, continuing from year to year, and therefore is not valid under the California Constitution.

There is no single method or measurement to determine adequate staffing levels for police departments. Ideally, staffing requirements are based on a City’s priorities; the community’s expectations; external influences, such as fluctuations in a City’s daytime or seasonal population; and the levels of crime.

In addition to these factors, adequate staffing requirements must be based on a combination of statistical analysis and professional opinion. Staff recommends four benchmarks that staff will compile annually and present to the City Council:

1) response times,
2) incidents of crime and crime rates,
3) workload, and
4) clearance rates

These benchmarks will provide a clear assessment of how the Police Department is performing, and the department’s ability to provide quality police service to the citizens of Brentwood. Based on extensive research, we believe these benchmarks provide the best information for determining the appropriate police staffing levels.

Response times are an important benchmark of police service. Response times vary greatly depending on the size of the City and department, geographical location and levels of crime. Smaller cities usually have faster response times, due simply to the geography.

Calls for service are prioritized into three general categories.

• Priority 1 calls are those that pose an immediate threat to life or crimes that are in progress.

• Priority 2 calls are high priority but do not elevate to the level of an emergency.

• Priority 3 calls are miscellaneous service calls or “cold calls.”

Brentwood Average Response Times Listed in Minutes and Seconds 2004 – 2007

YEAR Priority 1
EMERGENCY Priority 2
2004 4:49 5:52 8:07
2005 4:49 6:11 8:41
2006 5:11 6:36 9:02
2007 4:42 6:08 8:26
Variance Range 0:29 0:44 0:55

Response times between 2004 and 2007 have been fairly consistent with a range of 29 seconds for Priority 1 calls over the last 4 years.

Crimes including murder, rape, robbery, arson, assault, burglary, theft and auto theft are categorized as Part 1 crimes, which are the statistics that are tracked by both the FBI and by local jurisdictions. When examining levels of crime in a jurisdiction, both incidents of crime and crime rate must be considered. Incidents of crime are the total number of Part 1 crimes that occurred in a calendar year. For example, Brentwood experienced 176 burglaries in 2007. Crime rate is the measurement of crime incidents in percentages when comparing a certain time frame to another.

Brentwood’s crime rate has increased proportionately to our population growth. Between 2000 and 2007, our population increased from 22,230 to 48,677 (119%). When we look at Part 1 crimes per 1,000 population, it has slightly declined between 2000 and 2007. In 2000, it was 39.05 per 1,000 population.

City of Brentwood – Part 1 Crime Incidents (2000-2008)

Crime 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Murder 1 0 0 2 4 1 3 0 0
Rape 4 7 7 4 6 14 8 9 5
Robbery 9 8 14 6 16 24 33 44 48
Arson 11 9 16 10 8 9 32 27 9
Aggravated Assault 36 50 61 37 58 62 79 71 78
Simple Assault 250 267 275 296 323 405 374 394 353
Residential Burglary 44 54 104 105 132 122 144 176 157
Non-Res. Burglary 62 40 73 72 58 64 64 83 52
Theft 404 569 673 878 779 679 868 880 925
Auto Theft 47 131 115 199 160 121 115 132 110
Total 868 1,135 1,338 1,609 1,544 1,501 1,720 1,816 1,737

City of Brentwood – Part 1 Crimes per 1,000 Population (2000 – 2008)

Year Crimes Per 1,000
2000 39.05
2001 45.21
2002 45.19
2003 48.79
2004 41.45
2005 35.70
2006 37.41
2007 37.31
2008 (Projected) 34.32

Between 2000 and 2007, the Brentwood Police Department’s workload has increased along with the increases in population and sworn officers. Reactive workload involves responding to calls for service, crime incidents, cases taken and traffic collisions. Proactive workload involves incidents that are generated by the officer such as arrests and citations.

Calls for service went from 13,095 to 27,532 (110%). Arrests went from 1,084 to 1,973 (82%). Traffic citations have increased from 4,899 to 9,190 (88%). Traffic collisions have increased from 315 to 540 (71%), and case files taken have increased from 3,879 to 6,336 (63%). Actual sworn officer staffing levels have increased 103% over this same timeframe.

Reactive Workload 2000 – 2008

Workload 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Population 22,230 25,104 29,608 32,975 37,246 42,050 45,974 48,677 50,614
Crime Incidents 868 1,135 1,338 1,609 1,543 1,501 1,720 1,816 1,737
Calls for Service 13,095 14,952 17,820 20,573 21,806 23,175 25,012 27,532 28,617
Cases Taken 3,879 4,220 4,740 5,324 5,409 5,489 5,805 6,336 6,140
Collisions 315 363 393 418 445 505 568 540 512
Total Workload 18,157 20,670 24,291 27,924 29,203 30,670 33,105 36,224 37,006
Actual Sworn* 30 33 43 45 47 54 56 61 62
Workload/Sworn 605 626 565 621 621 568 591 594 597

Proactive Workload 2000 – 2008

Workload 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Population 22,230 25,104 29,608 32,975 37,246 42,050 45,974 48,677 50,614
Arrests 1,084 1,148 1,052 1,120 1,284 1,393 1,431 1,973 1,750
Citations 4,899 4,260 3,864 6,376 5,906 6,756 6,119 9,190 10,916
Total Workload 5,983 5,408 4,916 7,496 7,190 8,149 7,550 11,163 12,666
Actual Sworn* 30 33 43 45 47 54 56 61 62
Workload/Sworn 199 164 114 167 153 151 135 183 204

*Actual sworn staffing levels, rather than budgeted sworn staffing levels, are used in calculating the historical workload per sworn officer. This is necessary since the workload can only be divided and performed by actual officers. Including budgeted positions which remained unfilled would significantly distort this benchmark by assigning a portion of the workload to officers which did not exist. Projected numbers include budgeted positions in order to reflect the fact that the City has budgeted for, and expects, to have vacancies filled. This also allows the City Council to analyze the impacts of staffing decisions on the workload per sworn as we begin the budgeting process.
Crime clearance rates represent the police department’s ability to close cases. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and most jurisdictions use the closing of Part 1 crimes to indicate clearance rates. Agencies can clear or close cases in one of two ways: by arrest or by exceptional means. Arrest is self explanatory. In certain situations, elements beyond law enforcement’s control prevent the agency from arresting and formally charging the offender. When this occurs, the agency can clear the offense “exceptionally.”

To clear a case exceptionally, the agency must have identified the offender, gathered enough evidence to support an arrest and the filing of charges, identified the exact location of the offender and have encountered a circumstance outside the control of the law enforcement agency that prohibits the agency from making an arrest. Examples of such circumstances include the offender being deceased, a victim refusing to cooperate with prosecution or the denial of extradition by another jurisdiction.

The latest FBI numbers for clearance rates are from 2006, and we have preliminary numbers for 2007. This report compares Brentwood’s clearance rates with the FBI’s numbers as they relate to agencies located in the Western part of the United States with populations similar to Brentwood. As indicated by the data Brentwood has done a good job clearing cases.

The only exception is our clearance rate for burglary. The national average for burglary clearance for agencies with similar populations in 2006 was 12.8%. In 2006, Brentwood’s burglary clearance rate was 7%. In 2007, our burglary clearance rate was 8%. Between 2006 and 2007, our clearance rate for rape dropped by 53% and our clearance rate for robbery dropped by 14%. During the same time frame, our clearance rate for both theft and auto theft increased by 7%. Note: The FBI does not use arson in their reported clearance rates.

2006 National Average Clearance Rates for Similar Populations

Crime 2006
Murder 63.8%
Rape 37.0%
Robbery 27.8%
Assault 54.7%
Burglary 12.8%
Theft 19.6%
Auto Theft 11.8%

Brentwood Clearance Rates 2006

Crime Actual Cleared Clearance
Murder 3 2 67%
Rape 8 6 75%
Robbery 33 16 48%
Assault 453 376 83%
Burglary 208 14 7%
Theft 868 107 12%
Auto Theft 115 12 10%
Totals 1,688 533 32%

Brentwood Clearance Rates 2007

Crime Actual Cleared Clearance
Murder 0 0 N/A
Rape 9 2 22%
Robbery 44 15 34%
Assault 465 397 85%
Burglary 259 20 8%
Theft 880 170 19%
Auto Theft 132 23 17%
Totals 1,789 627 35%

Comparison of Brentwood Clearance Rates between 2006 & 2007

Crime 2006 2007 Change
Murder 67% N/A N/A
Rape 75% 22% ↓ 53%
Robbery 48% 34% ↓ 14%
Assault 83% 85% ↑ 2%
Burglary 7% 8% ↑ 1%
Theft 12% 19% ↑ 7%
Auto Theft 10% 17% ↑ 7%
Total Clearance 32% 35% ↑ 3%

The small sample size of some of the crime categories (e.g. murder, rape, robbery) make year over year comparisons for some individual categories difficult as the clearance rates can strongly fluctuate based on only a few cases. In 2007, there was a decrease in the closure of those types of cases which are infrequent but more violent in nature. In addition, our burglary clearance rate is below the national average, while our assault clearance rate is above the national average.

Councilmember Stonebarger suggested that staff present an annual report on the benchmarks and crime trends, along with proposed strategies to target areas needing improvement. Staff agrees with that idea. The report would be presented early in the budget process so that the Council could consider current police issues and provide general direction to staff for the preparation of the Recommended Budget.

During the Council discussion on June 24th several comments were made about the City’s new crime analysis software and other technologies that are available to increase police effectiveness.

Crime analysis is a set of systematic, analytical processes directed at providing timely and pertinent information relative to crime patterns and trend correlations to assist the operational and administrative personnel in planning the deployment of resources for the prevention and suppression of criminal activities. It assists police personnel in the investigative process, and it increases apprehensions and the clearance of cases.

The Brentwood Police Department has contracted with CPS Solutions to provide all of our crime analysis software applications. Eventually, there will be three major aspects of our crime analysis capabilities; mapping, mobile access, and public access. Our mapping software is now operational.
Our mapping tools can quickly and easily identify areas with concentrated crime activity. Crime activity, trends and patterns can be analyzed per frequency, time and place. Our analysis tools allow thorough study of crime data and patrol resource demands. A careful look at call types can reveal areas with the greatest number of calls weighted with time spent per call. Our system transforms raw data into valuable information and offers decision-support regarding resource demand, resource allocations adjustments and staff performance. These adjustments can now be made immediately to address the problem.
In addition, call activity can be mapped, sorted and aggregated for individual officers. This helps agencies to identify officer response and report activity aiding in performance evaluations and service documentation. We also have an officer activity query that combines mapping and spreadsheet functions to drill down for detail. Such data provides both a macro and micro view of calls for service, response activity by location, frequency of response per address, time en route and time at the scene, as well as the number of responding officers per location. Overall, analysis of these variables ensures strategic and tactical management of resources and enhanced community service.
Within the next six months, we hope to have our other two phases in place. Our mobile access software will equip our patrol cars with address locator technology, improving agency response times and on-scene arrival times, and the quick access to information on sex offenders, parolees and other offender data. This phase will be implemented once we have done the improvements needed to our mobile access technologies. The public access software will provide real-time crime information that the public can access via our Department’s website. It will provide valuable information to the community and heighten public awareness of crime with education and data. This will also include a free email notification service to keep subscribers tuned in to weekly reports. We are working with our City’s webmaster to get this piece operational. To assist in supporting this program, we have established a full-time Crime Analysis Coordinator and filled the position with existing staff.

There is no new fiscal impact associated with the benchmarking program. This is part of the management information that will be compiled and maintained by existing staff.

Exhibit A - June 24, 2008 Staff Report
City Administration
City of Brentwood City Council
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Brentwood, CA 94513
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