Council supports crime research project

The Mountain View Community Council threw its support behind a new neighborhood crime research initiative during its monthly meeting Monday night.

The Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program is a federal grant aimed at reducing local crime rates by funding research and data-based action plans. In a unanimous 11-0 vote Monday, the council passed a resolution supporting the Anchorage Community Land Trust’s application for a BCJI grant. The program offers several levels of funding, and ACLT Executive Director Jewel Jones said her nonprofit would pursue the year-long planning grant of up to $100,000.

During a brief address to the council, Jones outlined the land trust’s interest in the grant. By gathering data on Mountain View hotspots and also crime reporting rates, she said the work funded through the grant could help develop community crime solutions and “re-establish trust” between the neighborhood and police.

She said there were several facets to neighborhood crime reporting. Sometimes, Jones said, people wouldn’t call the police.

“The downside, and we hear this a lot, is that, ‘We call the police and they never show up,'” she said.

An APD spokeswoman said dispatchers receive hundreds of calls every day and often have to prioritize the response based on the immediate threat.

Not every call we receive is going to warrant an immediate response by an officer,” Jennifer Castro wrote in an email. “However, if a citizen insists an officer responds we will eventually get one to them.”

Dispatchers would try to call people who had been waiting a while “to give them an idea of when an officer might be able to respond,” Castro wrote.

The council resolution passed Monday references cultural differences and language barriers, as well as the police department’s recent embrace of new technologies like an automated alert system and interactive crime map. By paying to improve and assess crime reporting data, Jones said the BCJI grant could help identify neighborhood problems and work to solve them.

“More importantly, it will bring APD into this circle with us,” Jones said.

The grant application deadline is May 6, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.



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