Effects of One-a-Day Foot Patrols on Hot Spots of Serious Violence and Crime Harm: a Randomised Crossover Trial

Basford, Lewis 
Sims, Chris 
Agar, Iain 
Harinam, Vincent 
Strang, Heather 

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jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:sec jats:titleResearch Question</jats:title> jats:pDoes one foot patrol per day (15–20 min) conducted in serious violence harm spots reduce street-visible crime harm and frequency relative to no foot patrol in the same hot spots, and if so by how much?</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleData</jats:title> jats:pWe identified 20 hot spots of 150mjats:sup2</jats:sup> each on the basis of community violence defined as serious assaults, robbery, and drug dealing in the Southend-on-Sea area of Essex Police, with boundaries geo-fenced to collect GPS measures of foot patrol presence generated by hand-held electronic trackers issued to officers directed to perform patrols. All street-visible crimes were counted for each of the 90 days of the experiment in each hot spot.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleMethods</jats:title> jats:pDaily random assignment of each hot spot to either control or treatment conditions (jats:italicN</jats:italic> = 90 X 20 = 1800 place-days) prescribed 720 place-days to receive extra patrols by Operational Support Group officers, which were compared to 1080 place-days with no extra patrols, using an intent-to-treat design, with 98% compliance with assigned treatments. Independent measures of other police presence in the area were tracked by the force-wide GPS telematics measures. All crimes were coded with the Cambridge Crime Harm Index for their CHI value.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleFindings</jats:title> jats:pThe 20 harm spots comprised just 2.6% of the geographical area of the Southend-on-Sea area, with 41% of all its Cambridge CHI crime harm in the year preceding the experiment. Background patrol presence was about 2 min per day on control days and 1 min per treatment day. Crime harm scores for serious community violence were 88.5% lower on experimental days with extra patrols (mean = 1.07 CHI per treatment place-day) than without it (mean = 9.30 CHI per control place-day). Crime harm scores for all street-visible offences were 35.6% lower on treatment days (mean = 7.94 CHI per treatment place-day) than control days (mean = 12.33 CHI per control place-day), while the mean count of all street-visible offences was 31% lower on treatment days (mean count = 0.09 crimes per treatment place-day) than on control days (mean count = 0.13 crimes per control place-day). The estimated effect of the 720 days with 15-min patrols was to prevent crimes with recommended imprisonment of 3161 days, or 8.66 years.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleConclusion</jats:title> jats:pThe use of two-officer foot patrol can be highly effective at preventing serious violence in street-visible settings in small areas in which such violence is heavily concentrated.</jats:p> </jats:sec>

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48 Law and Legal Studies, 4805 Legal Systems, 4402 Criminology, 44 Human Society, Clinical Trials and Supportive Activities, Prevention, Violence Research, Mental Health, Clinical Research, 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
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Cambridge Journal of Evidence-Based Policing
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC