Benedictine College Professor's Research is a Model for Crime Fighting

Benedictine College Professor's Research is a Model for Crime Fighting

Published: Monday, July 11, 2016

Benedictine College professor Dr. Kevin Bryant, chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology, has been getting accolades for his work on Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS) for years. The program has shown great success in his research case with the City of Shawnee and now the U.S. Department of Justice has recognized it as an effective model for use in the field. As such, Dr. Bryant’s work with the Shawnee Police Department’s DDACTS program will now be listed on for researchers and police departments to use as a reference. This repository of evidence-based studies serves as a valuable clearinghouse of information about what works and what is promising in justice programs and practices.

Bryant completed training and was certified in advanced crime mapping by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in 2011 and is currently working toward recertification. As an expert in the field, he worked with the Shawnee Police Department’s crime analyst, Josie Villa, a 2008 graduate of Benedictine College and former student of Bryant’s, as well as Greg Collins, the police department’s research director. The stated goal of DDACTS was to reduce crime, crashes, and traffic violations and the purpose of the study was to determine what effect the DDACTS initiative had on crime and traffic safety in the City of Shawnee.

From 2008 to 2010, the City of Shawnee had experienced a 22% increase in violent crime, mainly rapes and robberies. The Shawnee Police Department started DDACTS in July 2010, flooding the implementation area with officers. Bryant compared a three-year period of crimes committed in the study area to a control area, as well as the rest of the city. The results were impressive.

The 75th Street corridor where the program was implemented showed an 88% decrease in robbery, an 84% decrease in commercial burglaries and a 24% decrease in vehicle crashes. As a matter of fact, all targeted crime was down in the test area. According to Bryant, residents and retailers could tell the difference.

“The public should be impressed because it’s very inexpensive,” Bryant said. “We haven’t done a cost-benefit analysis, but for every accident reduced, for every crime that doesn’t happen, it is likely that the financial savings to the community are substantial.”

According to the Shawnee Police Department, they enacted DDACTS and were able to achieve results with no increase in staffing and very little overtime.

“I am privileged to be part of this project,” said Bryant. “I plan to continue working with the Shawnee Police Department on a deeper analysis of the data we’ve collected.”

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.