A partnership between the East Chicago Police Department and experts at Indiana University Northwest is expected to provide the law enforcement agency the tools it needs to better allocate its resources for more proactive policing.
Through IUN's Center for Urban and Regional Excellence, which focuses on helping community partners co-create solutions to their challenges, the East Chicago police, as well as other law enforcement and emergency agencies in the region, now have access to sophisticated computer statistical analysis methods typically only available in cities.
The new partnership was announced in a news release.
Joseph Ferrandino, assistant professor of criminal affairs in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and his students will analyze crime statistics and other data collected by the Police Department over the past five years to create a baseline for further study.
Ferrandino will continue to map such information as the number of traffic injuries and fatalities, common times of traffic accidents, property damage, personal injury and other data, and will present his findings at regular meetings with East Chicago police.
“The level of expertise and technology that IU Northwest brings to the table is beyond our capability,” said Chief Mark Becker.
Ultimately, Becker said, this work will help the department make decisions aimed at improving public safety, reducing traffic incidents and deploying resources more effectively.
“Once we start getting the data, we can put it into the officers’ hands and empower them,” Becker said. “We can make better decisions about where to patrol, discover more about where the issues lie, and stay a step ahead.”
This type of analysis is among the many ways the Center for Urban and Regional Excellence helps regional agencies address challenges in Northwest Indiana Communities, according to Ellen Szarleta, director of the center and a faculty member in SPEA.
“The center’s current projects address diverse areas including economic development, government efficiency, nonprofit leadership development and transportation policy, as well as public safety,” Szarleta said.
Becker said he was impressed by the work Ferrandino has done on behalf of the center with the Gary Police and Fire departments and the Portage Police Department.
For the past 14 months, Ferrandino has provided mapping and research for the Gary force, which the department uses to make decisions about staffing, policies and more.