KCPD Improves Police Operations and Public Safety with Risk Terrain Modeling

Congratulations to the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department (KCPD) for receiving the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) 2022 Leadership in Law Enforcement Research Award. This award recognizes agencies that demonstrate excellence in conducting and using research to improve police operations and public safety.

KCPD is a proven leader in Risk Terrain Modeling (RTM). They reduced violent crime by nearly a quarter during the 1-year time period. And, their success continues today. Informed by RTM, KCPD focused on the situational contexts and opportunities for crime at hyper-local levels. Then they implemented a place-based crime prevention program focused on key attractors and generators of the environmental backcloth. Their initiative was called Risk-Based Policing (RBP).

To be evidence-based, they selected target and comparison areas for an outcome evaluation. They utilized: 1) directed patrols, 2) business checks, 3) coordination and deployments of non-police resources, and 4) positive police-community engagements. Everyone did what they do best at the places needing them most.

Results were impressive, with target areas outperforming comparison areas by 22%. The total net effect was about 165 fewer violent crimes and an estimated cost savings of over $4.9M to local criminal justice and emergency health care systems. Notably, crime was reduced and prevented without an abundance of law enforcement actions against people located in the target areas. The focus was on making places safer. 

KCPD demonstrates how RTM guides successful crime prevention programming that maximizes existing local resources. Their use of RTM for RBP proves how community-focused policing can be effective and sustainable. 

The effective use of RTM for RBP in Kansas City continues today, and plans are currently underway to expand toward a broader citywide DICE (data-informed community engagement) initiative.

You’re invited to contact Captain Jonas Baughman at jonas.baughman@kcpd.org to discuss details.

The open access scientific article can be found here.

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