IACP Volunteers in Police Service Program: Five-Year Anniversary and New Resources
The national Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) program celebrated its fifth anniversary on May 30, 2007. The VIPS program is managed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, and the White House Office of the USA Freedom Corps.
In conjunction with the anniversary, the program has redesigned and added new interactive features to its Web site, www.policevolunteers.org.
The VIPS program has also released Five Years of the National VIPS Program, a video that celebrates the success and growth of the national VIPS program and its impact on law enforcement. The video is available on the Web site.
When the program launched in 2002, 76 state or local law enforcement volunteer programs were registered. Since then, the program has expanded to more than 1,560 local VIPS programs and 101,000 volunteers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. There are also programs in the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.
The VIPS program serves as a gateway to information for agencies interested in developing or enhancing a volunteer program. The program offers a wide range of no-cost resources, including publications, educational videos, training, and technical assistance. For more information, please contact Sarah Godshall by telephone at 800-843-4227, extension 808, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preliminary 2006 Uniform Crime Report Released
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released the preliminary 2006 crime statistics for the United States and posted them in full on the FBI Web site. The statistical data in the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) were collected from more than 11,700 law enforcement agencies nationwide.
Nationwide, violent crime increased 1.3 percent, and property crime decreased 2.9 percent when compared with 2005. The statistical data show a rise in violent crime for the second straight year. The increase, however, is less than the 2.3 percent figure reported for 2005 and the 3.7 percent increase reflected in the preliminary six-month report for 2006, released in December. Some of the most salient data from 2006 follow:
- The murder rate is up 0.3 percent overall. The number of offenses increased the most—6.7 percent—in cities with one million or more residents and decreased the most—11.9 percent—in nonmetropolitan counties.
- Cases of forcible rapes decreased by nearly 2 percent overall. Only two population categories experienced increases, both areas with populations less than 100,000.
- The robbery rate rose 6 percent, the highest increase in any violent or property crime category. Each population group except nonmetropolitan counties saw an increase.
- The aggravated assault rate experienced a slight overall drop of 0.7 percent. The largest cities experienced the greatest declines.
- Three of four geographic regions (except the Northeast) showed violent-crime increases. The largest increase was in the West, with 2.8 percent.
- The burglary rate increased slightly, by 0.2 percent. The greatest increase—3.3 percent—came in cities with 500,000 to 999,999 residents.
- Rates for larceny-theft (down 3.5 percent overall) and motor vehicle theft (down 4.7 percent) experienced decreases in every population category.
- The arson rate is up 1.8 percent in all but one population group. Arsons are tracked separately from other property crime offenses.
More UCR details are available on the FBI Web site (www.fbi.gov), including a breakdown by major cities; the overall percent change compared with the previous year, going back to 2003; and national totals for each category by geographic region.
The report is issued by the FBI. The Criminal Justice Information System Committees of the IACP and the National Sheriffs’ Association serve as advisors to the UCR.
Updated Directory of Resources on Crimes against Children Available
Unfortunately, children are reported missing, abducted, or exploited daily. Law enforcement’s response to these offenses must be swift, efficient, and effective. The coordination and collaboration of federal activities relating to missing and exploited children is an important tool in fighting these crimes; therefore, the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has released its fifth edition of Federal Resources on Missing and Exploited Children. Local police departments are encouraged to have the directory readily available for its officers.
When a child is missing in a local community, assistance is available from the Federal Agency Task Force for Missing and Exploited Children. The task force was established May 25, 1995, by former U.S. attorney general Janet Reno with the mission to coordinate federal resources and services to meet the needs of missing, abducted, and exploited children and their families.
In the 11 years since the task force came into existence, great strides have been made. The Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today (PROTECT) Act of 2003 has strengthened law enforcement’s ability to investigate and prosecute violent crimes committed against children. In addition, this law formally established the role of the federal government in the America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBtER) Alert System. The AMBER system is operational in all 50 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, and internationally. Many other technological innovations, such as secondary distribution and wireless alerts that send the public a rapid message about a missing child, are making it harder for offenders to commit crimes against children.
The Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) program is a national network of 46 task forces that includes personnel from federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. ICAC strongly supports Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a new federal initiative aimed at combating the proliferation of technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes against children. PSC and ICAC illustrate the importance of partnerships in keeping children safe.
Crimes against children can severely strain the resources of investigating agencies. Law enforcement personnel are encouraged to be familiar with the contents of the directory and use it in their work with other agencies and communities. The resource directory is available from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 6000, Rockville, MD 20849-6000; or by telephone at 800-851-3420, 301-519-5500 (international calls), or 877-712-9279 (TTY for hearing impaired). The directory is also available through the Internet at www.ncjrs.gov.