Kudos to the Pittsfield Police Department and Mayor Bianchi for having the vision to include a crime analyst in the 2014 budget ("Pittsfield mayor unveils 2014 budget with 2.7 percent tax rate increase," May 30).
Cities like Memphis credit their BLUE CRUSH program (crime reduction utilizing statistical history) with reducing violent crime by 15 percent, and serious crime by 30 percent. It does so by keeping ahead of criminals to prevent crime before it happens. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey relies heavily on crime analysis to deploy scarce resources. He starts all new recruits on foot patrol because a Temple University research study demonstrated its success.
But large cities are not the only beneficiaries of crime analysis. The Amherst Police Department has had a crime analyst for nearly a year, and the UMass-Amherst PD is about to hire a statistics manager. Using the intelligence and data integrated by their crime analyst, Amherst has seen a dramatic reduction in burglaries. Pittsfield should be just as fortunate.
The writer has an M.A. in biostatistics from Boston University.