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NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 41 Issue: 8 Dated: (August 1993) Pages: 59-64
A W Cole; D Kelley
Date Published
6 pages
This article describes the procedures and effectiveness of the use of police barricades to reduce drug trafficking in targeted neighborhoods of Lawrence, Mass.
Lawrence, an urban city of approximately 70,000 people, was once a prosperous working-class city, but the textile mills closed down and urban decay followed. Lawrence saw crime rates increase as drug trafficking grew and gang activities thrived. In an effort to counter this trend, community-policing strategies were implemented. Under these strategies, problemsolving techniques have been used to address neighborhood problems; the problemsolving involves both line officers and neighborhood residents. Non- traditional approaches to problemsolving have been emphasized. One such approach is the use of barricades and the monitoring of traffic in a neighborhood with an open drug market. Officers designed a checkpoint operation and went door-to-door to consult with residents and businesses about its desirability and implementation. The residents overwhelmingly indicated they were willing to endure the slight inconvenience to gain a safer and more law-abiding community. Access to the neighborhood was limited to one entrance, and the tag numbers of vehicles that cruised the neighborhood were recorded (resident tag numbers were recorded by the police so they would not be bothered). Letters were sent the vehicle owners observed in the neighborhood so they would know police had observed them in the area. A posted sign informed vehicles entering the neighborhood of the police surveillance. Within the first week of operation, the occupants of at least four known drug houses moved out of the neighborhood. Response from neighborhood residents remained positive throughout the operation. After the barricades were removed, community police officers assigned to the neighborhood continued to record registration numbers of suspicious cars and send letters to their owners.


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