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Dallas AVL Experiment: Evaluating the Use of Automated Vehicle Locator Technologies in Policing

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2015
127 pages
This study conducted with the Dallas Police Department (Texas) used automated vehicle locator (AVL) technology to examine whether access to detailed information on patrol locations enabled police managers to have greater control over where and when police patrol various areas, thus matching police presence to crime mapping data that identify where police are needed at various times.

Data collection and analysis suggest that, at least in cites like Dallas with large geographies, AVL information will not aid patrol allocations in large geographic areas. This is because patrol coverage in beats is largely a function of cross-district dispatch to specific incidents rather than commander-directed deployment; however, AVL is effective in achieving higher levels of patrol as needed in "hot spots" of crime as determined by crime mapping. This resulted in significant reductions in crime. Additional studies are needed in other cities, with a focus on the management of patrol presence in hot spots. This should provide a better understanding of the potential benefit of using AVL for timely location of patrol presence. The study used a blocked randomized experimental design. Trajectory analysis identified four groups of beats with similar crime trajectories. Each of the beats within a trajectory group was randomly allocated to treatment or control conditions. Commanders received information on the measured deployment levels (the amount of hours of vehicle presence as measured by an AVL received by the treatment beats but not the control beats). In addition, they received AVL measured deployment information about Compstat hot spots in the treatment areas, but not in the control areas. Extensive tables and figures

Date Published: June 1, 2015