The Columbia Police Department operates a focused deterrence strategy, often referred to as “Pulling Levers”, to address violent crimes committed by chronic offenders in the greater Columbia area. A focused deterrence strategy deals with proactively addressing chronic offenders, specifically those that have repeat contact with the criminal justice system and have some association and/or link to violent crime. The focus can be as large as reducing violent crimes or narrow to specifically deal with those involved in armed robberies or crimes against people involving guns.
The focused deterrence strategy is identified internally by the Police Department as an issue/problem that needs to be addressed. The issue/problem is researched and refined to target chronic offenders and to reduce citizen victimization. Chronic offenders are identified that are attached to the criminal justice system such as those on Probation or Parole. The goal is to have a call-in similar to existing models that were created in Highpoint, NC and Boston, MA, but with emphasis on crimes against persons, particularly violent crime. Offenders are notified that they will subject to strict prosecution for certain future criminal acts. The event includes local, state and federal government representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Solicitor’s Office (District Attorney), South Carolina Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. Importantly, the planned event also includes participation from local government and community based service providers who focus on issues such as education, employment, and substance abuse among others. The University of South Carolina School of Criminology and Criminal Justice has previously rendered valuable technical assistance and evaluation to this effort.