Law Enforcement Guidance

Why is hospital injury information important for law enforcement?

According to a 2016 U.S. Department of Justice report, many crimes go unreported to law enforcement, including:

  • 53% of violent crime in 2015.
  • 58% of simple assaults in 2015.
  • 43% of violent crime involving an injury in 2015.

Hospitals treat individuals who are injured in violence incidents. If the time, date, and location of violent incidents are captured through the Cardiff Model, a community can develop a greater understanding of how and when violence is occurring. Mapping areas of where violence occurs from hospital and police information (known as hotspot mapping) is critical to understanding and developing violence prevention programs and strategies within the community. The Cardiff Model is not intended to be used to investigate individual cases but rather improve understanding of geographic patterns of violence in the community.

How does law enforcement participate in the Cardiff Model?

Law enforcement and area hospitals form a local community safety partnership where data are shared. This information includes:

  • When the injury occurred (date and time)
  • Where the injury took place (business name and/or street address)
  • How the injury happened and/or weapon used (e.g. hit, stabbed with a knife)

No other personal information (i.e., name, date of birth, social security number) is collected, shared, or used.

What is law enforcement’s role in the community safety partnership?

Through the community safety partnership (CSP), law enforcement works hand-in-hand with the hospital and public health agency partner (at a minimum) to identify potentially new and existing violent injury hotspots. After identifying injury hotspots, the CSP develops innovative ways to address the specific hotspot needs.

In addition, law enforcement has historical knowledge of what type of prevention programming and current efforts have been directed in these areas. These critical elements will help guide CSP efforts and complement (not duplicate or interfere with) previous or ongoing work. The new maps may also be used to guide ongoing law enforcement violence prevention activities and patrol patterns.

How often does anonymous violence information get shared?

Violence information can be shared on any mutually agreeable timeframe within the CSP. Past partnerships have found monthly sharing to be useful, although more frequent sharing could occur.

For example
cardiff model in action

In Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom, the Violence Prevention Board (local name of the CSP) identified many violent assaults occurring in particular streets in the city’s main entertainment district. After investigating this area, the Board realized that these assaults were largely due to alcohol-intoxicated individuals bumping into each other on the sidewalks after a night of drinking, resulting in fights breaking out. This risk was made worse by such people rapidly becoming frustrated while waiting to be served at fast food outlets and for taxis. The Board worked with the city to make the streets more pedestrian friendly, move taxi stands, and appoint taxi marshals (capable guardians), which helped decrease violent assaults in the area.

Key steps to starting the Cardiff Model in my law enforcement agency:
  • Relationship building
    1. Establish a violence prevention partnership with the local hospital and public health agency
    2. In collaboration with hospital partner, determine most useful injury information to collect and map
  • Law enforcement agency buy-in and support
    1. Obtain law enforcement leadership buy-in and support
    2. Obtain permissions for sharing crime incident data with partners
    3. Provide support as need to assist public health agency or relevant partner in producing hotspot maps
  • Training and technical processes
    1. Identify a lead point of contact for collecting law enforcement data
    2. Establish procedures for sharing data and maps
  • Injury information and map sharing
    1. Establish procedures for sharing injury information and maps
    2. If necessary, develop and sign a shared data use agreement with the partners
  • Community safety partnership activities*
    1. Work with hospital and other partners to establish a broader community board to review the maps on violent injury
    2. Help to develop a culture of decision-making based on real-time data
    3. Assist in implementing multi-agency prevention programs and initiatives at locations identified in the mapping of the data