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Street-level Drug Law Enforcement: A Meta-Analytical Review

NCJ Number
Journal of Experimental Criminology Volume: 2 Issue: 4 Dated: 2006 Pages: 409-435
Date Published
December 2006
27 pages

This paper presents the results of a series of meta-analyses to compare the effectiveness of four types of drug law enforcement approaches, including community-wide policing; problem-oriented/partnership approaches that were geographically focused; hotspots policing; and standard, unfocused law enforcement efforts.


The authors examined the relative impact of these different crime control tactics on street-level drug problems as well as associated problems such as property crime, disorder, and violent crime. The results of the meta-analyses, together with examination of forest plots, reveal that problem-oriented policing and geographically focused interventions involving cooperative partnerships between police and third parties tend to be more effective at controlling drug problems than community-wide policing efforts that are unfocused and spread out across a community. But geographically focused and community-wide drug law enforcement interventions that leverage partnerships are more effective at dealing with drug problems than traditional, law enforcement-only interventions. The study results suggest that the key to successful drug law enforcement lies in the capacity of the police to forge productive partnerships with third parties rather than simply increasing police presence or intervention (e.g., arrests) at drug hotspots. (Published abstract provided)

Date Published: December 1, 2006