What is meant by intelligence-led policing? It is a way for the Broward Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies to analyze and utilize information on violent and habitual offenders and tips from the community to find better ways to fight crime. It is also a way to apply our resources more effectively and efficiently. The work of our Violence Intervention Proactive Enforcement Response (V.I.P.E.R.) unit, created in February 2013 to combat spikes in violent crimes, is one way the Broward Sheriff’s Office is working smarter.
V.I.P.E.R. builds its intelligence by collaborating with other departments within BSO as well as local, state and federal agencies, but the community plays a significant role in this crime-fighting method, too. No law enforcement agency can be effective without community partnerships. We rely on everyone to keep an eye on what’s happening in their neighborhood and to report criminal activity. With this information, new offenders and repeat offenders are identified. We can link crimes that were previously treated as separate offenses.
This valuable information leads to better resource allocation and decision-making. Traditionally, law enforcement has spent more time responding to crime and less time working to prevent crime. The intelligence that drives V.I.P.E.R. allows us to identify and prevent threats from affecting our communities. Instead of blindly conducting sweeps or other less-effective approaches, we can now direct resources for maximum effectiveness.
V.I.P.E.R. was formed by combining two crime-fighting units: our Regional Street Crimes Unit and Gun Squad. This merger helps us zero in on not only illegal weapons, but also on criminals with a history of the violent use of weapons.
V.I.P.E.R. has made a marked difference in reducing violent crime in a small amount of time. With better intelligence on offenders and potential offenses, we have been able to target the six percent of criminals that commit approximately 65 percent of all violent crime. In 2013, V.I.P.E.R. was responsible for the arrest of 471 suspects including 337 felons and 134 misdemeanor offenders. Additionally, V.I.P.E.R. confiscated 63 firearms, including a sawed-off shotgun, and seized tens of thousands of dollars in drug money.
While the numbers have been impressive, they are not a full reflection of V.I.P.E.R.’s success. Through our shared tips and efforts, we have captured criminals in other counties and states who were planning crimes. Our V.I.P.E.R. unit will continue to target, track, investigate and apprehend Broward County’s most violent criminals, while we at the Broward Sheriff’s Office will continue to find new ways of keeping our community safe.
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