ally must interact with state government agencies, a federal regulatory agency, the local community and sometimes nongovernmental environmental groups.
With so many players in the mix, it is essential to have a communication and community
outreach strategy in place early, says Ms. Dornfest. It should include an analysis of which
stakeholders need regular updates and which only need information at milestones, and the
best ways to keep the public informed about progress, Ms. Dornfest says.
“Getting out in front of the community is a big part of a successful project.” —Christina Couch
Police departments around the world are harnessing data to predict and prevent crime. Last
year, the police department in Oxford, Alabama, USA launched a project that officials believe
could slash the local crime rate. The cost? Just US$12,000.
The one-year pilot project makes use of predictive policing, employing data on previous
crimes to predict what offenses are likely to happen—both when and where. As police depart-
ments of different sizes and locations are tasked with reducing crime in the face of shrinking
resources, predictive policing is seen by some as an effective strategy to fight crime without
adding officers. Projects to imple-
ment computer models that forecast
crime are popping up everywhere from
sprawling metropolises like Los Ange-
les, USA to small boroughs like Traf-
Executing the project in Oxford
involved putting a decade’s worth of
crime reports into a software program
and training staff to use it. The software
divides the city into 500-foot-by-500-
foot (152-meter-by-152-meter) squares
and predicts which squares are most
likely to see an uptick in criminal activity based on the hour. Patrols start their
shifts by consulting the software, and
have been trained to frequent those
predicted hot spots up to 10 percent
more than other areas.
The pilot project is slated to finish in
April, when analysts will sift through data
to determine whether the initiative delivered intended business results and should
be rolled out across the department.
“We’re looking forward to seeing
what else it can do,” project sponsor
A historic theater in New York, New
York, USA is gearing up for its biggest
production yet: a project to elevate
Raising the Palace Theatre, which has
hosted Broadway performances such
as West Side Story, by 29 feet ( 9 meters) will make room for a new lobby.
The current lobby will be replaced by
retail space extending three levels below ground. In addition, the 103-year-
old theater will get new dressing
rooms, restrooms and elevators.
Project plans call for raising the
theater— 1 inch ( 2. 5 centimeters) at a
time—with jacks. The process will take
two weeks. The elevation and renovation is part of a larger US$2 billion
project that includes a new luxury
hotel tower on the site. It’s expected to
be finished in 2019.
Although the developers won
approval from the New York City
Landmarks Preservation Commission in
November, some preservationists say
the project is too risky for the building’s delicate plaster interior.
“Usually moving a landmark is a
last ditch kind of option to protect
it against a road widening,” Simeon
Bankoff, executive director of the
Historic Districts Council, told The Wall
Street Journal. He called the developer’s plan “a case of really conspicuous
consumption.” —Brigid Sweeney