Police innovation and crime prevention: Lessons learned from police research over the past 20 years

  • Braga A
  • Weisburd D
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A new wave of strategic police innovation is not expected in the near future. Future innovation will be incremental in nature. The conditions in the 1980s and 1990s that created the pressure for innovation no longer exist. While the available research evidence is not as strong as some believe, there is a general sense that these police innovations work in preventing crime and satisfying community concerns as reinforced by the research evidence described in this report. Even though innovative changes to policing appear positive and have shown crime control and community benefits, this review reveals the need for greater research and knowledge about the effects of these innovations on police departments and the communities they serve. In responding to rising crime rates and growing public dissatisfaction, police departments have been improving their performance and developing strategic innovations. These innovations include community policing, “broken windows” policing, problem-oriented policing, “pulling levers” policing, third-party policing, hot spots policing, Compstat, and evidence-based policing. The available evidence on key dimensions of police performance associated with these eight innovations, such as crime control and effectiveness and community satisfaction with services is limited. Utilizing research, this draft report describes the form and character of each of these recent police innovations, categorizes them based on research, examines their crime and disorder effectiveness, examines community reaction to innovative police strategies, and examines police reaction to these innovative strategies.

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  • a.a. Braga

  • D.L. Weisburd

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