Policing Problem Places: Crime Hot Spots and Effective Prevention

Hardcover | October 7, 2010

byAnthony A. Braga, David L Weisburn

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In recent years, crime scholars and practitioners have pointed to the potential benefits of focusing crime prevention efforts on crime places. A number of studies suggest that crime is not spread evenly across city landscapes. Rather, there is significant clustering of crime in small places,or "hot spots," that generate a vastly disproportionate number of criminal events. Even within the most crime-ridden neighborhoods, crime clusters at a few discrete locations and other areas are relatively crime free. A number of researchers have argued that many crime problems can be addressed moreefficiently if police officers focus their attention on these deviant places. The appeal of focusing limited resources on a small number of high-activity crime places is straightforward. If crime can be prevented at these problem places, then police will be well positioned to lower citywide crimerates.In Policing Problem Places, Anthony A. Braga and David L. Weisburd make the case that hot spots policing is an effective approach to crime prevention that should be engaged by police departments in the United States and other countries. There is a strong and growing body of rigorous scientificevidence that the police can control crime hot spots without simply displacing crime problems to other places. Indeed, putting police officers in high crime locations is an old and well-established idea. However, the age and popularity of this idea does not necessarily mean that it is being doneproperly. Police officers should strive to use problem-oriented policing and situational crime prevention techniques to address the place dynamics, situations, and characteristics that cause a "spot" to be "hot." Braga and Weisburd further suggest that the strategies used to police problem placescan have more or less desirable effects on police-community relations. Particularly in minority neighborhoods where residents have long suffered from elevated crime problems and historically poor police service, police officers should make an effort to develop positive and collaborativerelationships with residents and not engage strategies that will undermine the legitimacy of police agencies, such as indiscriminant enforcement tactics. This book argues that it is time for police departments to shift away from a focus on catching criminal offenders and move towards dealing withcrime at problem places as a central crime prevention strategy.

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In recent years, crime scholars and practitioners have pointed to the potential benefits of focusing crime prevention efforts on crime places. A number of studies suggest that crime is not spread evenly across city landscapes. Rather, there is significant clustering of crime in small places,or "hot spots," that generate a vastly dispro...

Anthony A. Braga is Senior Research Associate and Lecturer in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. David L. Weisburd holds a joint appointment as a Distinguished Professor in the Administration of Justice Department at George Mason University and also as the Walter E. Meyer Professor of Law an...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:October 7, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195341961

ISBN - 13:9780195341966

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements1. Introduction2. The Emergence of Hot Spots Policing3. The Theoretical Importance of Place in Crime Prevention4. The Empirical Evidence for Hot Spots Policing5. Dealing with Problem Places6. Enhancing Police Legitimacy Through Community Engagement in Problem Places7. Conclusion: Improving Policing by Focusing on Problem PlacesTables and FiguresReferencesNotes