U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Smart Policing Initiative: Testing the Impacts of Differential Police Strategies on Violent Crime Hotspots

NCJ Number
Jerry H. Ratcliffe; Elizabeth R. Groff; Cory P. Haberman; Evan T. Sorg; Nola Joyce
Date Published
August 2013
10 pages

This issue of Smart Policing Initiative (SPI): Site Spotlight (August 2013) reports on the testing of the impacts of differential police strategies used in hotspots of violent crime in Philadelphia.


Findings indicate that the offender-focused strategy outperformed both foot patrol and problemsolving strategies in reducing violent crime where it is concentrated. Compared to the control areas, the treatment areas that received the offender-focused strategy had a 22-percent decrease in violent crime and a 31-percent decrease in violent street felonies. No significant crime reductions occurred in areas that received problemsolving or foot patrol strategies. The offender-focused strategy used criminal intelligence unit (CIU) officers to identify repeat violent offenders who either lived in the target area or were suspected of being involved in violent crimes in the target area. Team members and patrol officers frequently made contact with these prolific offenders using a variety of strategies. Regarding foot patrol, District Captains were given discretion to determine how foot patrol would be implemented within their assigned deployment areas as long as each target area was patrolled a minimum of 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 12 weeks. The problem-oriented policing strategy consisted of teams of district officers, working in collaboration with community members and with the support of personnel from police headquarters to identify, analyze, and implement strategies that targeted specific problems. 2 figures and 1 table