Tucson Police Department takes a new approach to reduce gun violence

Updated: Apr. 23, 2021 at 8:53 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Tucson Police Department has found the majority of gun violence happens in just a handful of hotspots around the city and often times committed by the same people, officials say.

“A marrying of science and policing which haven’t always gotten along in the past historically,” said Kevin Hall, the assistant chief of the Tucson Police Department.

Now, TPD is working with crime reduction experts to disrupt the violence.

“Focuses in on micro hotspots where gun violence tends to concentrate. We send in investigative teams to see what’s going on in that location,” said Dr. Tamara Herold, an associate professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Dr. Herold analyzed hot spots through place network investigations in Las Vegas and Cincinnati which has led to a reduction in crime. Tucson police reports 60 percent of gun violence occurs in just four percent of Tucson’s geographical area. Hall said they plan to look at three areas where shootings occur most often and figure out who the repeat offenders are. The targeted approach comes at the perfect time as the department continues to deal with a staffing shortage.

“Particularly in this day in age when we’re trying to be more efficient with our resources because our resources are shrinking,” he said. “It’s just a smarter way to do business for policing.”

The eventual goal is to decrease the homicide rate which is up 30 percent and is disproportionally affecting people of color.

“The other thing we’re very concerned about across the country is that gun violence is the number one cause of death for black males and number two cause of death for Latino males,” Hall said.

The approach goes beyond traditional policing and will rely on Tucsonans to step in and help.

“That builds in some ownership on the community’s part and some accountability because sometimes enforcement is more harmful than it is good,” he said.

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