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Relationship Between Police Presence and Crime Deterrence

NCJ Number
Police Journal Volume: 58 Issue: 2 Dated: (April-June 1985) Pages: 118-131
J J Rouse
Date Published
14 pages
Studies of the relationship between police presence and crime deterrence in the United States are reviewed, including considerations of police manpower, patrols, arrest rates, and policing styles.
An examination of the relationships between population; number of police per 1,000 population; crime rate; and crime rate ranking for 26 major cities fails to reveal consistent relationships among these variables. A number of studies have found a relationship between police organizational style and police effectiveness. A study of the effects of visibility of patrols were more effective deterrents, while high/low visibility patorls resulted in more apprehensions. Several studies have found that the use of aggressive patrol techniques such as vehicle stops and stakeouts produce high arrest rates and low crime rates. In other studies; factors which have been found to contribute to enhanced police effectiveness include close cooperation with the community, the use of team policing, and increased night (as opposed to day) patrols. Overall, this survey suggests that it is far more important how police are used than how many there are. Increased police strength alone does not make a difference. Rather, many other factors must be considered if police presence is going to impact on crime rates. Tabular data and 32 references are included.