In April 2012, the Department initiated the Data Driven Approach to Crime and Traffic Safety program, known as DDACTS. The premise of DDACTS is to analyze multiple years’ worth of crime, collision, and calls for service data in conjunction with geospatial mapping to identify target “zones”. Target zones are areas in the community that have a higher concentration of activity than other areas in Town.
Once a target zone is identified, resources are directed into the area with the intent of increasing community contacts with residents and business owners. The desired outcome of DDACTS is improved communication about community concerns and an increase in enforcement-related contacts (traffic stops, FIs, etc.). An increase in contacts aids us identifying people and locations involved in criminal activity. As such, DDACTS is fully supportive of our department philosophy which combines the principles of Community Policing and Intelligence-Led Policing.
During the week of July 31, a seven months’ long investigation culminated with the service of search warrants and arrest warrants within the identified DDACTS target zone in the north-central area of Gilbert. By making contacts within the zone we were able to identify a particular residence within the zone that was a gathering place for people who were involved in criminal activity, in particular the sale and use of illegal drugs, primarily heroin and methamphetamine. Because of a history of calls for serve at the residence, officers and detectives were already familiar with the home. As we continued with our DDACTS contacts within this zone, residents expressed concern that this criminal activity was having a negative effect on their quality of life. At this point, a formal criminal investigation was opened.
During the course of the investigation, several additional locations were identified as being associated with the criminal activity at residence in Gilbert. Enough evidence was gathered to secure several grand jury indictments. With the assistance of tactical units from Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, and Chandler Police Department we were able to simultaneously serve search warrants at multiple locations related to the investigation. During the culmination of the investigation, 39 suspects were arrested and/or charged with 303 felony and 34 misdemeanor charges. Moreover, numerous stolen items, including firearms and vehicles, were recovered. Significant seizures made during the operation were a kilogram of heroin from a major supplier to this particular area in Gilbert and significant quantities of marijuana and cocaine from suspects involved in interstate and intrastate transportation and shipment of these drugs. Aside from the stolen firearms, weapons associated with drug offenses and property crimes were also seized.
Our investigators worked closely with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office throughout this investigation to ensure we had sufficient evidence to help them successfully prosecute these individuals. Successful prosecution could yield maximum sentencing from the criminal offenders in the case – providing the residents with a long-term solution to this particular quality of life issue.
I am extremely proud of our Department and of the collaborative effort between our Criminal Investigations, Special Enforcement, and Tactical Operations teams. Many residents in the target zone have thanked me for our efforts saying they will feel safer in their neighborhoods. We have also received notes of appreciation from residents in other parts of Gilbert and even from people in other cities.
This is just one of the success stories resulting from the DDACTS program. Based on the past three years’ data, we have had an 11% decrease in violent crimes, a 39% reduction in burglaries, and reduced the number of calls for service by 12% within the zone. Additionally, officer initiated contacts increased by 39%.