Mr Jesse Parmar1
1WA Police Force, Perth, Australia
Operation Safer Hotels tested the effect of police engagement strategies in increasing both the quantity and quality of intelligence reports from the hotel community in the Perth metropolitan area.
The study employed a randomised experimental design in which 126 hotels were matched into triplets based on size, CAD demand (calls for service) and quality (based on online reviews). Hotels within each triplet were randomly allocated to one of three groups: a control group, Treatment Group 1 or Treatment Group 2. The control group received business as usual policing. Treatment Group 1 received personal engagement from a police officer, using a procedurally-just checklist. This group were provided with: literature on drug related behaviour, a dedicated ‘Operation Safer Hotels’ phone number and a monthly email outlining positive outcomes of reporting. Treatment Group 2 received a letter outlining the Operation and the literature on drug related behaviour.
Key outcome measures included intelligence reports, recorded offences, crime harm (as measured by the WACHI) and quantity of drugs seized.
Compared to the control group, Treatment Group 1 provided: three times as many intelligence reports; nearly three times as many drug related intelligence reports; four times the number of offenders identified from a 39% increase in reporting; and had a greater quantity of drugs seized from those offenders.
Our findings suggest that face-to-face, procedurally just engagement that includes feedback and regular contact with members of the hotel community has a positive impact on uncovering hidden offending; specifically drug related offending taking place on hotel premises.
Jesse Parmar is an analyst for the Office of Applied Criminology at WA Police.
His research areas include: crime prevention, geographic and temporal cluster of crime (crime hot spots) and traffic.