Goldilocks and the three “Ts”: Targeting, testing, and tracking for “just right” democratic policing

Change log
Sherman, LW 

In this lecture, I frame the issue as follows: Can more widespread use of better research evidence on targeting, testing, and tracking police actions, shared more clearly among the public and police, help reduce the wide range of oscillation between over-policing and under-policing? The use of these questions in public dialogue would be especially relevant to the three biggest threats to police legitimacy in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder: A) police killing people, B) police stopping people, and C) police under-patrolling high crime hot spots (while overpatrolling low crime areas). One result of applying the three-Ts questions to these threats, for example, could be the end of the vast over-use of stop & search in low-violence areas. At the same time, this approach could also lead to reductions in homicide by increasing stops in highestviolence hot spots. Such changes could demonstrate how the “Goldilocks principle” for the three Ts could get policing closer to “just right” for each place and person being policed.

evidence-based policing, over-policing, police legitimacy, under-policing
Journal Title
Criminology and Public Policy
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
Volume Title