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Getting Proactive with Police Proactivity: The Benefits of Computer-aided Dispatch for Directing Police Resources to Areas of Need

NCJ Number
Policing-a Journal of Policy and Practice Dated: 2022
K. Henning; C. Peterson; G. Stewart; K, Kahn ; Y. Labissiere; B. Renauer; R. Mitchell; S. Sothern
Date Published

Sherman et al. [Sherman, L. W., Williams, S., Ariel, B., et al. (2014). 'An Integrated Theory of Hot Spots Patrol Strategy Implementing Prevention by Scaling up and Feeding Back.' Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 30(2): 95-122.] argue that crime reductions associated with hot spot policing can be maximized by carefully managing the dosage of supplemental resources delivered. Fully achieving this goal in prior studies has been difficult due to resistance by officers, the use of atypical strategies for directing patrols to target locations, and insufficient attention to the measurement of treatment dosages. This has led to calls for process research examining the implementation of hot spot policing in law enforcement agencies. The current study represents one such effort.


.The computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system for a large US police department was pre-programmed with 16,200 supplemental community engagement patrols that were communicated to officers similar to emergency calls for service generated by the public. An interdisciplinary team comprised sworn officers, crime analysts, and academics designed and evaluated the intervention using an experimental design. The team found that the vast majority of patrols were delivered as scheduled (n = 12,965; 80.0%) and that planned dosage ratios between treatment conditions were achieved. Advantages of using CAD for proactive policing initiatives and benefits of police-academic partnerships are discussed. (Publisher abstract modified)