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Importance of Place in Policing: Empirical Evidence and Policy Recommendations

NCJ Number
David Weisburd; Cody W. Telep; Anthony A. Braga
Date Published
69 pages
This report presents evidence on the use of place-based policing as an effective tool for crime prevention.
This report, commissioned by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, summarizes research into the field of place-based policing. Police-based policing is a relatively new field of crime intervention strategies that is aimed at improving the effectiveness of crime prevention efforts by directing them at small, well-defined locations with high levels of crime. The report begins with an overview of crime prevention research and policy that has focused primarily on people and not places. The authors argue that by switching crime prevention efforts from people to places police can be more effective at focusing the use of scarce resources to more efficiently target crime. The paper has sections that discuss the emergence of crime places in crime prevention, the concentration of crime at place, the stability of hot spots as crime prevention targets, and the importance of place-based rather than community-based crime prevention. The following sections of the paper discuss why crime is concentrated in certain places, the empirical evidence for hot spots policing, and whether place-based crime prevention strategies effectively just move crime around the corner. The next two sections of the paper examine efforts to reduce legal constraints while decreasing arrests and incarceration of offenders, and recognizing the importance of police legitimacy in policing places. The final two sections of the paper discuss an agenda for place-based policing and reasons for using place-based policing based on the results of recent research. Tables, figures, and references