On June 18, acting Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Donald E. “Del” Laverdure announced a new publication issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services (OJS) according to a press release. The handbook shares what OJS has identified as the best practices to reduce crime in Indian country.
Crime-Reduction Best Practices Handbook: Making Indian Communities Safe 2012, takes the successful strategies that have been deployed in helping the OJS meet its goal of reducing violent crime on four reservations.
“Reducing violent crime in tribal communities is among Secretary Salazar’s most important commitments to Indian country, and Indian Affairs vigorously supports this effort,” Laverdure said in the press release. “The BIA Office of Justice Services’ Crime-Reduction Best Practices Handbook: Making Indian Communities Safe 2012 is a valuable new resource for tribal leaders, their police departments and their law enforcement partners, containing ideas and techniques they can use right away to fight crime and improve public safety in their communities.”
The strategies outlined in the handbook come from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s Safe Indian Communities Initiative that he established in 2010. The initiative was established as a DOI HigH Priority Performance Goal that looked at reducing violent crime by five percent in 24 months on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation in Montana, the Mescalero Reservation in New Mexico, the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, and the Standing Rock Reservation in North and South Dakota. Through the strategies these four reservations saw a 35 percent decrease in violent crime in that time frame the release said.
The achievement was a combination of community policing, tactical deployment and critical interagency and intergovernmental partnerships all of which is included in the handbook as strategies that worked and those that didn’t. Along with these tips the handbook provides law enforcement serving reservation areas demographic profiles of the four reservations; a glossary of acronyms; findings from the HPPG initiative on various issues affecting crime incidence; and an appendix with useful guides, templates, crime statistics, and a listing of OJS contacts.
The release goes on to state that, “the OJS’s approach to crime-reduction combines elements of short-term enforcement actions with longer term prevention, and considers having strong working relationships with tribes, community service providers, other law enforcement entities, and the at-large community as instrumental to building an ongoing service capacity in Indian country that can address and correct conditions that contribute to crime.”