Public Safety

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RAND work on public safety issues ranges from policing and prisons to violent crime and the illegal drug trade, as well as homeland security and emergency preparedness. RAND research helps inform policy debates that are often riddled with arguments driven not by evidence but by emotion and ideology.

  • A man holding a 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' pose and wearing an 'I Can't Breathe' mask outside City Hall, New York City, December 10, 2014, photo by Andrew Kelly/Reuters

    Commentary

    Can Big Data Help Build Trust in the Police?

    Dec 11, 2014

    After two controversial grand jury decisions not to indict police in the deaths of unarmed African Americans, a White House task force has 90 days to provide recommendations for promoting accountability among law enforcement agencies to cultivate trust between police and communities. The timeline may seem impossible, but, sadly, these issues are old and the solutions are well known.

  • A health worker demonstrates putting on protective gear in a Red Cross facility in Koidu, Sierra Leone, December 18, 2014, photo by Baz Ratner/Reuters

    Report

    Learning While Doing: Applying Lessons Learned During Public Health Emergencies

    Feb 13, 2015

    Response efforts to the 2014 Ebola outbreak highlighted both strengths and weaknesses. Researchers have created a tool that may help inform and guide ongoing efforts in the midst of similar public health emergencies, rather than after the fact.

Explore Public Safety

  • Nepalese military personnel and international rescue crews check on a collapsed building after the earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, May 12, 2015

    Commentary

    Another Nepal Earthquake Makes Disaster Relief Planning Even More Important

    Leadership, coordination, communication, and involvement of local stakeholders are critical to an informed response to natural disasters. Improved disaster management in Nepal could help limit the suffering of impacted communities and help secure a more successful recovery in the long run.

    May 13, 2015

  • Police stopping on a crowded street

    Blog

    Examining Police, Community Relations

    The “Strengthening Police-Community Trust” panel held Wednesday at RAND's Pittsburgh offices felt ripped from the headlines, and from the outset the discussion was focused on what the moderator called “the intersection between the community and the police.”

    May 8, 2015

  • Nepal military personnel sits next to relief supplies at Gorkha district office following Saturday's earthquake in Gorkha, Nepal April 30, 2015

    Commentary

    Nepal Earthquake Response Shows Need for Better International Planning

    The U.S. provided supplies after the earthquake in Nepal, but they piled up at points of delivery because Nepalese customs authorities insisted that standard inspections be followed, even in an emergency situation. These kinds of bureaucratic challenges can be more easily overcome if they are identified and addressed before crises arise.

    May 7, 2015

  • Texas nurse Amber Vinson who had treated Liberian Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan steps from an ambulance at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia October 15, 2014

    Commentary

    As Ebola Declines, Lessons Emerge

    Lessons learned through the analysis of this most recent Ebola outbreak as well as other disease outbreaks can have far-reaching consequences, helping authorities to both improve the continuing, ongoing response and plan for the best possible response to future threats.

    May 7, 2015

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    How Accurate Is TV's Portrayal of Terrorism?

    Acclaimed television writer, producer, and author Howard Gordon joins 30-year CIA veteran and RAND senior policy analyst Andrew Liepman for a discussion about the allure of terrorism as a subject for entertainment in this Events @ RAND podcast.

    May 6, 2015

  • Worker wearing a hazmat suit

    Commentary

    Breaking Down Nuclear Waste as a Two-Part Issue

    The U.S. Department of Energy is now planning separate repositories for commercial waste and the waste from the military's nuclear weapons production instead of disposing of both in the same repository as originally intended. Decoupling different parts of the nuclear waste problem is a small but positive step forward.

    May 5, 2015

  • NYPD officers interact with pedestrians in Central Park, Manhattan, May 22, 2011

    Report

    Strengthening Trust Between Police and the Public

    Amid recent tensions between law enforcement and the public, three key questions must be answered to build the foundation for long-lasting mutual trust, especially given technological changes that are increasing transparency.

    May 1, 2015

  • Journal Article

    From Firearms to Weapon Systems: Challenges and Implications of Modular Design for Marking, Record-Keeping, and Tracing

    This paper provides an overview of the key elements related to the development of modular designs for small arms and highlights the challenges that such designs pose to the effective implementation of the ITI and the Firearms Protocol.

    May 1, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Techno-polymers in Firearms Manufacturing: Challenges and Implications for Marking, Record-Keeping, and Tracing

    This paper provides an overview of the key elements related to the use of industrial polymers in arms manufacturing, highlighting the challenges that such materials pose to the effective implementation of the ITI and the Firearms Protocol.

    May 1, 2015

  • Labels with prices are placed next to marijuana for sale at the grand opening of The Cannabis Corner, the first city-owned recreational marijuana store in the country, in North Bonneville, Washington March 7, 2015

    Commentary

    Unprecedented Changes in Marijuana Policy

    The marijuana policy landscape changed dramatically in 2014. Legal sales for nonmedical purposes began in Colorado and in Washington state. Voters in Washington, D.C., Alaska, and Oregon passed initiatives to liberalize their marijuana laws. Uruguay also started implementing its marijuana legalization law.

    Apr 30, 2015

  • The entrance to the Santa Monica Pier at sunset

    Commentary

    Wellbeing Project to Weave Science Into Government Decisions

    Wellbeing is about individuals having the skills and opportunity to live a meaningful life. There are countless things that cities do that either contribute or detract from that sense of meaning. Santa Monica's Wellbeing Project is working to fundamentally change how the government thinks about its citizens.

    Apr 29, 2015

  • Marijuana and money,

    Journal Article

    Estimates of Drug Consumption and Expenditures Inform Marijuana Legalization Debate

    Amounts of user consumption and expenditures are more useful indicators than prevalence when developing drug policy. While neither of these indicators is perfect, they can help states contemplating marijuana legalization make production and revenue projections.

    Apr 22, 2015

  • A group of people rally together

    Tool

    Community Resilience: LEARN and TELL Toolkit

    The LEARN and TELL Community Resilience Toolkit teaches people about community resilience so that they can teach others and—ultimately—help their communities remain strong in the face of economic downturns, violence, weather-related disasters, and other community stressors.

    Apr 22, 2015

  • Teen group learning about community resilience

    Tool

    Disaster Resilience Skills for Youth

    This guide introduces high school youth to key principles of community resilience through youth-friendly talking points and a scavenger hunt game.

    Apr 22, 2015

  • A man and his lawyer hear a ruling from a judge

    Journal Article

    Response to Stephanie A. Duriez, Francis T. Cullen, and Sarah M. Manchak: Theory and Evidence on the Swift-Certain-Fair Approach to Enforcing Conditions of Community Supervision

    Swift-certain-fair sanctioning helps enforce the conditions of community corrections by substituting swiftness and certainty for severity and by increasing the predictability and perceived fairness of the process from the offender's viewpoint.

    Apr 22, 2015

  • Gavel on laptop computer keyboard concept for online internet auction or legal assistance

    Report

    Digital Evidence and the U.S. Criminal Justice System

    There are significant challenges to successfully using digital evidence in criminal prosecutions. Through structured interaction with police digital forensic experts, prosecuting attorneys, a privacy advocate, and industry representatives, researchers identified and prioritized specific needs to improve utilization of digital evidence in criminal justice.

    Apr 20, 2015

  • reprioritized-det

    Tool

    Interactive Tool for Ranking Digital Evidence Needs

    This tool presents the prioritized needs related to digital evidence collection, management, analysis, and use and allows the user to see how their priorities would change when the importance of different digital evidence objectives are changed.

    Apr 20, 2015

  • Report

    The Potential of Blind Collaborative Justice: Testing the Impact of Expert Blinding and Consensus Building on the Validity of Forensic Testimony

    RAND researchers investigated two potential contributors to biased testimony within adversarial litigation involving forensic evidence: experts' knowledge of which side they were testifying for, and lack of input from relevant scientific communities.

    Apr 20, 2015

  • Soldiers at Suwon Air Base, South Korea, finish a comprehensive air defense artillery field training exercise

    Commentary

    To Know the Future of Biological Weapons, Look to the Past

    A panel chaired by former Sen. Joe Lieberman and former Gov. Tom Ridge will review U.S. policy on biodefense. Looking back to the end of the U.S. offensive biological warfare program would provide valuable lessons.

    Apr 10, 2015

  • Downtown Pittsburgh, PA at sunset from the Westend overlook

    News Release

    Project Aims to Improve Resilience Planning in Allegheny County and Pittsburgh

    The Pittsburgh region faces major challenges to stormwater management. These challenges could grow with climate change, complicating the investment decisions that need to be made for new or replacement infrastructure. The pilot study aims to take a first step toward improved stormwater and climate resilience planning at the county and city levels.

    Apr 9, 2015