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U.S. Department of Justice

Star For Immediate Release
October 7, 2008

CONTACT: Gilbert L. Moore
(202) 616-1728


COPS OFFICE DEVELOPS RESOURCES TO HELP POLICE ADDRESS INCREASING NUMBER OF VACANT HOMES

Foreclosure Crisis Presenting New Challenges for Law Enforcement

The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has developed two information resources to help local law enforcement agencies respond to the impact of foreclosed homes on crime, disorder, and community blight. COPS has devoted the September, 2008 Community Policing Dispatch and Geography and Public Safety newsletters to the topic. The Community Policing Dispatch can be accessed by visiting Community Policing Dispatch - September 2008, and Geography and Public Safety Volume 1, Issue 3, September 2008.

The publications examine how the nationwide home foreclosure crisis has affected crime, police practices, and public policy. Community Policing Dispatch, an e-newsletter published quarterly by the COPS Office to examine timely community policing issues contains articles that address foreclosures and their impact on policing. The Geography and Public Safety newsletter, a quarterly bulletin published jointly by the National Institutes of Justice and the COPS Office focuses on using crime mapping techniques to analyze problems, implement effective responses, and measure results.

According to recent statistics, the United States is experiencing the worst foreclosure crisis in its history. Over 14% of subprime borrowers are defaulting, and many prime borrowers may also be at-risk of default. Results of this trend include an increase in theft and vandalism at these unattended homes, code violations, mortgage fraud, and a growing demand for local law enforcement to take appropriate action.

"Foreclosed homes and their neighborhoods are magnets for violent crime, metal theft, property damage, blight, domestic disputes, and mortgage bailout scams," said COPS Director Carl R. Peed. "These issues, on such a large scale, present a new challenge for law enforcement and we are pleased to support local efforts to implement effective responses to the problem." The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has awarded over $9 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,200 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of 117,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training, technical assistance, conferences and webcasts.

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