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Chula Vista Police Recognized for Reducing Domestic Violence

November 9, 2018

By Ana Gomez Salcido

Courtesy of Chula Vista Police Department

The Chula Vista Police Department’s new Domestic Violence Program is being recognized as one of five international finalists for the 2018 Hermon Goldstein Award for Excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing.

Since 2015, the Chula Vista Police Department has led a research project to reduce domestic violence in the city. Police officials partnered with South Bay Community Services, along with crime analysis and research partners, to conduct a one-year study of new prevention and enforcement strategies.

“The results were impressive,” said Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy. “After the first-year of the project, our department noticed a marked decrease in domestic violence crimes.”

The department found that the domestic violence in the research area dropped by 25 percent. In addition, victims of domestic violence reported far greater satisfaction with the police response. Importantly, 92 percent of victims said they would call police again for help.

The innovative project was recently recognized by the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, which announced that the Chula Vista Police Department is one of five international finalists for the prestigious Herman Goldstein Award for Excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing.

“Domestic violence is one of the most common, dangerous, and frustrating problems facing our officers,” Kennedy said. “There is a sense of futility and helplessness among both victims and police.”

According to CVPD, officers often find themselves dispatched to the same addresses again and again. It can be difficult for victims to escape these types of situations.

The initiative involved testing a focused deterrence approach to reducing domestic violence. The goal of the project was to change social norms and behavior – without traditional legal interventions – unless repeated, customized, and increasingly intensive police contacts were not effective. Officers tested the new approach in one geographic area of Chula Vista. They provided written warnings to offenders, and handouts to victims.

This project enabled officials to send a profound message to victims of domestic violence: prevention is a priority for the department, and would make every effort to protect victims from violence. Officers even stopped by the homes of reported victims to check on their safety, and left handouts at the door.

The Herman Goldstein Award is presented by the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, and honors Professor Emeritus Herman Goldstein who conceived and developed the theory of problem-oriented policing. The award recognizes innovative and effective problem-oriented policing (POP) projects that have achieved measurable success in resolving crime and disorder problems. Chula Vista Police will be among five international finalists recognized at the 28th Annual Problem-Oriented Policing conference in Rhode Island. Other finalists include representatives from Oregon, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the British Transport and Rail Industry. One finalist will be selected for the award.

“I am very proud of the innovative work of our officers,” said Kennedy. “This is just another example of the commitment our personnel make to keep our community safe.”

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