How Much Time Should the Police Spend at Crime Hot Spots? Answers from a Police Agency Directed Randomized Field Trial in Sacramento, California

Cody W. Telep, Renée J. Mitchell, David Weisburd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hot spots policing has been shown to be an effective strategy for reducing crime across a number of rigorous evaluations, but despite this strong body of research, there still exist gaps in our knowledge of how officers can best respond to hot spots. We report on a randomized experiment in Sacramento, California that begins to address these gaps by testing the recommendation from prior research that police officers randomly rotate between hot spots, spending about 15 min patrolling in each. Our results suggest significant overall declines in both calls for service and crime incidents in the treatment hot spots relative to the controls. Additionally, the study was carried out primarily by the Sacramento Police Department without any outside funding. In an era of limited economic resources for policing, this experiment suggests a model by which police agencies can take ownership of science and oversee the implementation and evaluation of evidence-based interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-933
Number of pages29
JournalJustice Quarterly
Volume31
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • crime hot spots
  • hot spots policing
  • police
  • randomized experiment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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