Research shows targeted local policing approach reduces crime

Evidence gathered shows hot spots policing impacts on drug and violent crime

Police forces which target resources to areas where offences are most likely to occur could see a reduction in drug and violent crime, according to the  research recently included in the Crime Reduction Toolkit.  The Crime Reduction Toolkit summarises the best available research evidence on what works to reduce crime. The toolkit presents evidence from systematic reviews of research on a range of different crime reduction interventions in a format that allows officers and staff to access and understand it quickly.  

The College's What Works Centre has recently added hot spots policing to the Crime Reduction Toolkit.  The summary is based on research evidence which looked at the results of 19 separate studies on hot spots policing.  The review found that using hot spot policing led to reductions in crime.  Hot spots policing is founded on the idea that crime and disorder is not evenly spread within neighbourhoods but is clustered in a small number of locations within each area.  The research indicates that directing resources and activity to specific locations where crimes happen most frequently reduces crime.  The overall impact of the different studies showed that hot spots policing led to a small but significant reduction in crime in the specific areas targeted and in the wider neighbourhood.


The evidence also demonstrated that hot spots policing was more effective in reducing drug offences, violent crime and disorder than it was for tackling property crime.  The review authors compared the effect of taking a problem-orientated approach to hot spots policing with increasing traditional policing tactics, such as carrying out more patrols, and found that adopting a targeted approach was twice as effective.
Further details on hot spots policing and other crime reduction interventions can be found by visiting the Crime Reduction Toolkit on the College What Works website.  Look out for new crime reduction interventions on retail tagging and electronic monitoring coming soon.

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