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Crime and Disorder in Drug Hot Spots: Implications for Theory and Practice in Policing

NCJ Number
Police Quarterly Volume: 3 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2000 Pages: 331-349
Date Published
September 2000
19 pages

This study explores the relationship between street-level drug hot spots and crime and disorder problems in Jersey City, NJ.


Drug hot spot areas include a disproportionate share of arrests and calls for police service not only for drug-related crime but for crime and disorder in general. Street sections and intersections within the drug hot spot areas are also more likely to experience crime and disorder problems compared with non-drug hot spot areas. Findings support the idea of a spatial link between street-level drug hot spot activity, disorder, and serious crime. The article describes four methodological and substantive concerns that might be raised regarding the study's analysis of crime and disorder in drug markets: (1) high concentrations of calls and arrests within the drug hot spots does not mean that crime, drug activity, and other types of disorder are causally linked; (2) the uneven distribution of drug hot spots raises the question of whether the overall high rate of crime and disorder in the drug hot spots is merely a reflection of the uneven distribution of crime and disorder; (3) arrests and calls for service may have been concentrated in the drug hot spots simply because more people live in such areas; and (4) findings are limited by examination of the concentration of crime and disorder within drug hot spots in one time period. Figures, tables, notes, references

Date Published: September 1, 2000