This document reports findings of an experiment conducted by the Indianapolis Police Department (IPD) on the effects of directed police patrols in a high violent crime neighborhood.
In July 1997, the IPD implemented a project with the intent of reducing violent crime based on an earlier project by the Kansas City Police Department in the early 1990's. The project was implemented in two target areas for a 90-day period as opposed to the 6 month single site intervention in Kansas City. The directed patrol strategy utilized officers in patrol cars who were freed from the responsibility of responding to calls for police service. They were instructed to proactively patrol the areas with a special emphasis on locating and seizing illegally possessed firearms. The Kansas City findings showed a 70 percent increase in seizures of illegal firearms and a 49 percent decrease in gun-related crime. These results were largely replicated in one of the two target areas of the IPD. The north target area experienced a 29 percent reduction in firearms-related crime and 40 percent reductions in aggravated assault with a firearm and armed robbery. Homicides were reduced from seven to one comparing the same 90-day period of the prior year with the project period. Homicides declined in the east target area (four to zero) but there was no decline for other firearms-related crimes. The most likely explanation for the different effect on violent crime related to the strategy employed in each district. In the east district, a general deterrence strategy was employed that relied heavily on maximizing the number of vehicle stops. The north district employed a specific deterrence or targeted offender strategy. These results indicate that directed patrol in high violent crime locations could have a significant effect on violent crime. More studies are needed on the effects of directed patrol and to help isolate the causal mechanisms of directed patrol initiatives. 34 references, appendix
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