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Proactive Policing Effects on Repeat and Near-Repeat Shootings in Houston

NCJ Number
Police Quarterly Volume: 14 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2011 Pages: 298-319
William Wells; Ling Wu
Date Published
September 2011
22 pages
This article discusses whether a proactive police patrol unit deployed in a high-crime location can stop near-repeat gun assaults and homicides.
The spatial analysis of crime and community problems can inform police operations by revealing where resources can be most effectively deployed. Advances in understanding the spatial concentrations of crime show that some locations are repeatedly victimized and that some nearby locations are at an elevated risk for a subsequent crime during a relatively short period of time. These are known as repeat and near-repeat phenomena. Police may be able to have a strong preventive impact on crime if these risk patterns can be identified and disrupted. This analysis reports on whether a specialized, proactive patrol unit deployed to high-crime areas was effective in disrupting repeat and near-repeat patterns of shootings. Results suggest the proactive unit did not disrupt concentrations of shootings in a meaningful way. To improve effectiveness, police practitioners and researchers should seek to understand the factors driving these patterns and then design specific interventions to address them. (Published Abstract)