Study Reference:

Novak, K. J., Fox, A. M., Carr, C. M., & Spade, D. A. (2016). The efficacy of foot patrol in violent places. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 12(3), 465-475.

 

Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:

Micro places, General, Proactive, Moderately Rigorous; Nonsignificant/Mixed Effects

 

What police practice or strategy was examined?

This study examined the effect of police foot patrol on violent crime using a quasi-experimental method in Kansas City, Missouri. The Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) and research staff identified eight areas (each with approximately 1.5 miles of surface streets) that were high in crime and appropriate for foot patrol. Four of these areas were assigned to receive foot patrol (the intervention condition), and four served as non-foot patrol comparison areas. Rookie officers were assigned to conduct foot patrol in the intervention areas for the majority of two eight-hour shifts per day over a 90-day period from August 1, 2011 through October 31, 2011

 

How was the intervention evaluated?

The research team examined data on incidents of violent crime, measured in rates of aggravated assault and robbery, for the 30 weeks before the intervention (January through July of 2011), the 13-weeks of the intervention (August through October of 2011), and the 14 weeks after the intervention (November, 2011 through July, 2012).

 

What were the key findings?

Foot patrol did have an effect on reducing violent crime in the early stages of the intervention, but this effect soon faded, and violent crime returned to its initial levels even while foot patrol was still in use. Overall, foot patrol did not have a lasting effect on violent crime. There was also no evidence that crime had been displaced to surrounding areas.

 

What were the implications for law enforcement?

Better understanding when and how foot patrol is most effective is necessary for more effective and targeted deployment strategies. Foot patrol might be used more strategically by deploying it for short time periods (approximately six weeks or less) rather than as a long-term method of policing, and by rotating the areas targeted.

 

Where can I find more information about this intervention, similar types of intervention, or related studies?

The Matrix: Research on Micro-Places

The Matrix: Research on Communities and Neighborhoods

Hot Spots Policing

Systematic Review: The effects of hot spots policing on crime

Systematic Review: Spatial displacement and diffusion of benefits among geographically-focused policing initiatives

Ratcliffe, J., and Sorg, E. T. (2017). Foot Patrol: Rethinking the Cornerstone of Policing. SpringerBriefs in Translational Criminology, Springer International Publishing.