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“Hot Spot” Policing Reduces Crime

The Sacramento Police Department conducted a 90-day “Hot Spot” study that has shown to reduce crime.

During the period between February 8, 2011 and May 8, 2011, police used evidence-based policing by combining research with local crime data to create effective crime-reducing strategies. Two different areas of the city were examined; Downtown and East Sacramento. Police identified 42 “hot spots”, or street segments which generated a high amount of calls for service. Often these calls were associated with violent crimes. Of the 42 “hot spots”, 21 were randomly designated as treatment areas, in which officers proactively spent 15-minute periods each day. Within this time frame officers took a highly visible proactive approach to combating crime. The other 21 were designated non-treatment areas and received traditional patrol services.

The study results support the premise that focusing police efforts on high activity crime locations, “hot spots”, reduced the amount of violent crimes and calls for service in the treatment areas. Displacement of criminal activity was not a significant issue and call response times to the untreated locations did not substantially change. In fact, officer initiated productivity increased.

Professor David Weisburd, of the George Mason University Center for Evidence Based Crime Policy monitored the study to ensure its validity and statistical significance. The “Hot Spot” study was one of the best he has ever seen conducted by a police department without additional funding and without active academic participation.

Successful completion of this study could not have been possible without the cooperation of the George Mason University and the willingness of our officers to participate in this new study. We hope that by focusing our police services on areas of high crime and calls for service, we will continue to reduce crime through this creative way of policing.

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