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Challenges in Implementation and Impact: Lessons from the Cincinnati, Joliet, and Lansing Smart Policing Initiatives

NCJ Number
Michael D. White
Date Published
July 2015
23 pages
This Smart Policing Initiative (SPI) Spotlight Report reviews the experiences of three SPI sites that implemented evidence-based policing strategies and evaluated those strategies with rigorous research methodologies that showed the SPI model implemented did not achieve the envisioned crime reductions.
The three sites are Cincinnati, OH; Joliet, IL; and Lansing, MI. These SPI sites are examined because their rigorous evaluations enable a reliable identification of strategies, practices, and lessons from which other jurisdictions can benefit. All three sites were led by police officials and criminal justice scholars who were knowledgeable about evidence-based practices and researcher/practitioner partnerships. Each site conducted intensive data analysis in examining the underlying conditions and causes of the targeted crime problem (robbery in Cincinnati, drug dealing in Lansing, and gun violence in Joliet). Also, each site implemented a comprehensive, collaborative, data-driven strategy in addressing its crime target. This review of lessons learned from these sites identifies challenges to SPI implementation and impact that were experienced by these sites. They include lapses in continuous, real-time problem analysis; insufficient program dosage; stakeholder limitations; and tension between operational decisionmaking and research design integrity. In Cincinnati, for example, geographic analysis of the robbery problem led the SPI team to increase the size of the original target area, which weakened the intensity of the intervention. In Joliet, probation and parole officers were active participants in the SPI , but restrictions on their authority limited the team's ability to conduct compliance checks and initiate revocation proceedings. In Lansing, the nature of drug dealing shifted from a traditional turf-based model to mobile transactions coordinated by cell phones. This forced the SPI team to alter its interventions without sufficient analysis and planning. 45 notes