Blue CRUSH™ . . . A Research Partner/Police Collaboration on Data-Driven Street Operation

The successes of the MPD’s Operation Blue CRUSH™ pilot operation in 2005 suggested a need for a sustained, integrated law enforcement approach in all parts of the city where street crime has adversely affected the quality of life for our citizens.

Operation Blue CRUSH™ 2005 categorically reduced crime in areas of the city where the methodology was implemented. These “hot spots” of crime were identified using statistical data which allowed us to pinpoint concentrations of criminal activity and better direct our resources.

Based on these initial results, Operation Blue CRUSH™ has evolved from a pilot operation to a department-wide philosophy. The Police Services command staff has developed a comprehensive plan to significantly reduce street crime by deploying the Department’s resources in a sustained and proactive manner. The Department, now restructured, will allow more effective integration of its manpower, resources, and intelligence gathering to continue to reduce crime.

The Blue CRUSH™ methodology can now be utilized in a sustained, integrated, and efficient manner with the emphasis on accomplishing our goal.

Blue CRUSH™ utilizes new partnerships with the University of Memphis and takes advantage of cutting edge technology to create multi-layered crime analysis of “hot spots” based on crime data. Through the Blue CRUSH™ initiative the MPD has seen a reduction in crime.

With the crime data information provided, the MPD has demanded a higher level of accountability and responsibility from all officers of the department – from the Command Staff to Uniform Patrol.

When Blue CRUSH™ crime data is analyzed to provide information on the type of crime, day of the week, time of day, and the location that the crime is occurring the department is held more accountable and responsible for the crime that occurs across the city. This critical information is used to specifically focus the Memphis Police Department Blue CRUSH™ resources in new and innovative strategies driven by accountability and responsibility.

The MPD works hand in hand with the District Attorney’s Office, as well as the United States Attorney’s Office, to ensure that Blue CRUSH™ defendants are prosecuted in the most appropriate venue. A coordinated media campaign educates the community and magnifies the deterrent effect of Blue CRUSH™ enforcement operations.

Whenever law enforcement intensifies its efforts in a community, public support is critical. The Blue CRUSH™ OUTREACH strategy seeks to engage and maintain public support for this effort by:

(1) Establishing sustained contact with community leaders and neighborhood groups.

(2) Developing diversified and sustained media exposure.

(3) Engaging the assistance of various referral agencies and service organizations when needed.

The Blue CRUSH™ strategy has proven results in Memphis and, over the long term, data suggests that Memphis will benefit from a unit dedicated to continuously implementing the Blue CRUSH™ strategy of relying on analysis and the efficient use of resources.

Effective Saturday, January 14, 2006, the MPD created a new unit, the Criminal Apprehension Team (CAT), to expand the resources of Blue CRUSH™. This unit will be utilized in an integrated manner with other units, focusing on both problematic crime and known high crime areas inside the City of Memphis.

Blue CRUSH™ will fall under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Unit.

The Criminal Apprehension Team and the Multi-Agency Gang Unit (MGU) work in cooperation with Project Safe Neighborhoods and the Auto Cargo Theft Task Force.

CAT will focus on street-level crimes where crime patterns and/or specific problematic crime areas have been identified by Blue CRUSH™ methodology. CAT will also work closely with Uniform Patrol Divisions, Investigative Services Bureaus, and Crime Analysis Unit to ensure departmental resources are being utilized efficiently and proactively.