Community Health, Anti-social Behavior and Safety at Street Segments (ongoing)

David Weisburd (PI), Brian Lawton (co-PI), Justin Ready (co-PI), Clair White, Danielle Rudes, Matthew Nelson, Sean Wire

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), $3,017,000, 9/2012-8/2017

The current study seeks to understand how living in drug or violent crime hot spots (defined as individual street segments in a city) influences personal health, mental health, HIV and STIs, safe sex practices, drug use, crime and other anti-social behaviors. Further, it seeks to develop knowledge on why places become drug or crime hot spots and how characteristics of street segments and their residents impact upon developmental trends of health, drug use and crime.

We have finished two waves of data collection, completing over 7,500 surveys across 450 street segments in Baltimore. The final wave of data collection will be in 2017.

NIDA Project Methodology

NIDA Methodology Appendix

NIDA Codebook

Articles from this project:

Rainier Beach Campus Safety Continuum: A Comprehensive Place-Based Approach (ongoing)

Charlotte Gill (PI) and Zoe Vitter

National Institute of Justice, 2016-CK-BX-0005, $3,850,000

This project is for the development and evaluation of the Rainier Beach Campus Safety Continuum (RBCSC), a community-led, place-based, evidence-informed approach to addressing school and community safety and reducing racial disparity in school discipline and police contact in the Rainier Beach neighborhood in Seattle, Washington. The project builds on two existing local initiatives: Rainier Beach: A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth, a community-led, place-based approach to addressing youth crime at hot spots; and Rainier Beach: Beautiful!, an application of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), an evidence-based behavioral management approach for schools, into community facilities and businesses. Our project will assess whether PBIS can be successfully combined with school-based restorative justice (RJ) to enhance student support, and whether the integrated PBIS-RJ approach can be extended into the broader community to change social norms and improve safety. Through PBIS-RJ we plan to leverage community collective efficacy and informal social control, creating a continuum of positive support within and outside of school that focuses primarily on changing the way adult-run institutions operate and regulate youth behavior in the interests of universal safety. This project is a partnership between CEBCP, the City of Seattle Office of City Auditor, Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Police Department, the Seattle Neighborhood Group, and the Rainier Beach community.

Rainier Beach: A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth (ongoing)

Charlotte Gill, David Weisburd (PIs), and Zoe Vitter

Bureau of Justice Assistance Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program (with City of Seattle), 2012-AJ-BX-0006, $978,000 (2012-2016)
City of Seattle Human Services Department, $110,000 (2016-2017)

This project focuses on the development and evaluation of Rainier Beach: A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth (ABSPY), an innovative, place-based, community-led youth crime prevention strategy in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle. The program partners local community members, police, city and non-profit agencies, and researchers in the identification and implementation of non-arrest approaches in hot spots of youth crime. This project builds upon Seattle’s strong history and culture of community collaboration and neighborhood planning, as well as prior work in the city showing a strong concentration of juvenile crime at street segments and the theoretical and evidence base for non-arrest interventions with youth. This project was supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program through 2016. Preliminary evaluation findings for ABSPY show promising effects, and the City of Seattle has committed to sustaining the program, including CEBCP’s evaluation component, through 2018.


See also:

ABSPY website
Project description at LISC’s BCJI website

Community-Led Interventions in Rural Hot Spots

Charlotte Gill (PI), Zoe Vitter, and Samantha Wente

Bureau of Justice Assistance Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program (with Partners for Education at Berea College), 2015-AJ-BX-0007, $999,999

CEBCP and Partners for Education at Berea College are collaborating to develop a community planning and problem-solving process to identify the locations of and risk factors for juvenile and youth crime in three counties of the Southeastern Kentucky Promise Zone (Bell, Clay, and Harlan Counties). Our goal is to partner community members and Promise Zone stakeholders to identify place-based risk factors for crime and develop evidence-informed strategies to respond to them. The planning and implementation process builds on the existing history and culture of collaboration, neighborhood revitalization, and place-based approaches in these communities. A secondary goal of this study is to contribute to the limited research base on crime patterns in rural areas.

See our project page on LISC’s BCJI website for more information.

Addressing Mental Health Problems at Crime Hot Spots: A Demonstration Project of a Police and Mental Health Professional Outreach Program in Baltimore, Maryland (completed)

David Weisburd (PI), Clair White (Co-PI), Victoria Goldberg

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), $191,950

The project focuses on developing and pilot testing an innovative community policing program that partners police officers and mental health clinicians to spend time on hot spots of crime (street segments). A majority of police programs aimed at improving police response to people experiencing a mental health crisis are reactive in nature, but our program focuses on identifying the places where individuals have high need and using a proactive, problem-solving approach to connect people to services and prevent crises. The teams were able to provide resources and information to residents and individuals on the street with a focus on mental health and behavioral health problems, as well as rebuild trust between the police and community. We developed detailed training materials and a program guide based on the pilot program, and found the program to have the potential to address a number of goals if implemented on a larger scale over a longer period of time. View the final report here.

District of Columbia Project Safe Neighborhoods Evaluation (completed)

Cynthia Lum and Christopher Koper (PIs), and Ajima Olaghere

United States Attorney’s Office, Washington DC, $29,999

Final Report

GMU’s professors Lum and Koper and research professor Ajima Olaghere evaluated the 2015 Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) in Washington D.C. The goals of this PSN are the reduction of violence and youth gang-related incidents using a Gang Intervention Partnership (GIP) model that includes critical incident targeting that emphasizes de-escalation and restorative approaches, reducing the potential for retaliation and future violence, and increasing positive outcomes for youth at high risk for gang involvement.

Implementing and Evaluating Community Policing Strategies in Hot Spots of Juvenile Offending (completed)

David Weisburd (PI), Charlotte Gill (co-PI), and Zoe Vitter

Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, 2012-CK-WX-K026, $250,000

While there is a growing body of research indicating that crime concentrates at small geographic units or ‘hot spots,’ little research has examined the unique characteristics of juvenile offending at places. In this project, funded by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, we developed, implemented, and rigorously evaluated a community-oriented policing approach to juvenile crime hot spots in Seattle. The police worked with the community to develop community policing and problem-solving responses targeted at the specific risk factors for juvenile crime in each hot spot. These strategies, while police-led, focused on crime prevention rather than traditional arrest-based law enforcement approaches. Although the police achieved several successes, there was no overall effect on crime in the hot spots. However, the project revealed key lessons for police leaders and jurisdictions seeking to implement community policing, including the importance of organizational support and training for community policing efforts.

FINAL REPORT (coming soon)

See also:

Gill, C., Z. Vitter, and D. Weisburd (2015). Identifying Hot Spots of Juvenile Offending: A Guide for Crime Analysts. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Gill, C., D. Weisburd, Z. Vitter, C. Gross Shader, T. Nelson-Zagar, and L. Spain (2016). When is Innovation Not Enough? The Importance of Organizational Context in Community PolicingTranslational Criminology, 11 (Fall 2016). George Mason University, Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy.

Increasing Collective Efficacy at Crime Hot Spots: A Patrol Force Approach in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota (ongoing)

David Weisburd (PI), Charlotte Gill (co-PI),  Alese Wooditch, and Tori Goldberg

Bureau of Justice Assistance Smart Policing Initiative (with Brooklyn Park Police Department), 2013-DB-BX-0030, $700,000

This project capitalizes on new evidence that indicators of social control, such as collective efficacy, are concentrated at individual street blocks. High collective efficacy is associated with a lower risk of a block becoming a crime hot spot. Traditional hot spots policing approaches rarely account for the social context of crime at places, or the role of the community in crime prevention. In this project, CEBCP and the Brooklyn Park Police Department collaborated to develop a problem-solving approach called BP-ACT (Brooklyn Park-Assets Coming Together to Take Action), in which police first identified “assets” (key residents and community resources) at the hot spots and then brought these resources together to collectively develop solutions to crime problems. The goal of BP-ACT is for the police to help build collective efficacy by bringing communities together to deal with crime and disorder at hot spots. We are evaluating BP-ACT using a randomized controlled trial and expect to have final results by late 2017.

See our project page on the Smart Policing Initiative website for more information.

See also:

Weisburd, D., M. Davis, and C. Gill (2015). Increasing Collective Efficacy and Social Capital at Crime Hot Spots: New Crime Control Tools for Police. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 9(3), 265-274.

Gill, C., A. Wooditch, and D. Weisburd (2016). Testing the “Law of Crime Concentration at Place” in a Suburban Setting: Implications for Research and Practice. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, published online May 30, 2016.

Place Matters: Criminology for the 21st Century (completed)

(Cambridge University Press)

David Weisburd, John E. Eck, Anthony A. Braga, Cody W. Telep, Breanne Cave, Kate Bowers, Gerben Bruinsma, Charlotte Gill, Elizabeth Groff, Julie Hibdon, Josh C. Hinkle, Shane D. Johnson, Brian Lawton, Cynthia Lum, Jerry H. Ratcliffe, George Rengert, Travis Taniguchi, and Sue-Ming Yang

Place Matters is a collective effort by Crime and Place Working Group members that summarizes three decades of growing scientific inquiry into the criminology of place.  In addition, the volume lays out an agenda for future research.  Specifically, the book addresses the groundwork for the next generation of studies, and identifies how such scientific research can contribute to our efforts to respond to crime problems.

Stop, Question, and Frisk Analysis in New York City (completed)

David Weisburd, Brian Lawton, and Cody Telep

The New York City Police Department’s controversial stop, question, and frisk (SQF) policy is closely examined in this study. Much of the research currently in existence focuses on the racial and legal (4th Amendment) issues surrounding SQF. This project however seeks to respond to another aspect of SQF: whether the approach is targeted or more diffuse in its focus. In order to assess this question, a geographic analysis of crime incidents in New York City is coupled with an examination of stop encounters. The time frame of assessment for the SQF data and crime data spans from 2008 to 2010. Key Questions for our study include: Are SQFs concentrated at “hot spots”? Are those hot spots overlapping with crime hot spots in the city?  We will also examine whether the approach seems to have crime prevention outcomes.

David Weisburd (PI), Cynthia Lum (PI), Charlotte Gill, Devon Johnson, Linda Merola, Julie Willis Hibdon, Heather Vovak, Jordan Nichols, Jaspreet Chahal and Breanne Cave (DHS: 2010-ST-108-LR005)

The security of transportation facilities is of national concern and carries significant costs. Yet, very little evidence exists on what types or processes, programs, and interagency strategies yield the most effective cost-beneficial security structures. Through funding from the Department of Homeland Security, this project examines crime prevention and security in our nation’s airports in a multi-stage evaluation.

Phase I Report (Evidence-assessment of the Playbook, redacted version)

Phase IIa Report (National Survey of Category X, I, and II Airports, redacted version)


Phase III Report (Playbook implementation at ten U.S. Airports) NOT YET AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC DISSEMINATION

See also: Lum, C., C. Gill, B. Cave, J. Hibdon and D. Weisburd. (2011). Translational Criminology: Using existing Evidence for Assessing TSA’s Comprehensive Security Strategy at U.S. Airports. For C. Lum and L. Kennedy (Eds.), Evidence-Based Counterterrorism PolicyNew York, NY: Springer-Verlag.

Sacramento Police Department Partnership (completed)

Renee Mitchell, Sacramento PD (PI), David Weisburd, Cynthia Lum, Christopher Koper and Cody Telep

Sgt. Renee Mitchell in collaboration with the CEBCP has recently completed a hot spots policing experiment in Sacramento. Sgt. Mitchell undertook this project without any additional funding. The Sacramento Police Department released a press release announcing the significant crime declines that resulted from the experiment: “‘Hot Spots’ Policing Reduces Crime” and the COPS Office also summarized the results from the experiment.

See also Telep, C., Mitchell, R. and Weisburd, D. (2012). How Much Time Should the Police Spend at Crime Hot Spots? Answers from a Police Agency Directed Randomized Field Trial in Sacramento, California. Justice Quarterly. DOI: 10.1080/07418825.2012.710645.

Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice (completed)

Chief Editors: Gerben Bruinsma and David Weisburd (Crime Places and Situations Volume – Associate Editor: Cynthia Lum).

Springer Verlag (New York) published the Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice in a seven volume work in 2012, one of which is entitled “Crime Places and Situations”. The Encyclopedia is an ambitious project to collect the highest quality essays on criminology and related fields that can serve as a comprehensive reference for the next generation of scholars and students. The project seeks to define the parameters of the discipline of criminology and criminal justice, in the spirit of the first encyclopedias first developed in the 18th century.  This encyclopedia is not a dictionary of the field, but a cutting edge statement of knowledge in the field at this time. The Crime Places and Situations consists of a number of areas in the Crime and Place field, contributed to by the top crime and place scholars in the field.

Cynthia Lum (PI) and Linda Merola (co-PI) with Julie Willis Hibdon and Breanne Cave

Objectives: This randomized controlled experiment tests whether license plate readers (LPR) deter crime generally, and automobile crime more specifically in crime hot spots. The limited intervention tested here reflects one current likely use of LPR at the time of this publication.

Methods: We use a place-based block randomized experiment. Our subjects were 30 hot spots across two jurisdictions, 15 which were assigned to experimental conditions. The treatment involved targeted police patrols using a “sweep and sit” approach with license plate readers in these hot spots, also applying the Koper Curve timing principle. We examine effects of the intervention during and in a 30-day period post-intervention, controlling for pre-intervention levels of crime, seasonal factors, and jurisdiction.

Results: Our findings indicate that, when small numbers of LPR patrols are used in crime hot spots in the way we have tested them here, they do not seem to generate either a general or offense-specific deterrent effect.

Conclusions: While we did not find significant findings of this intervention, a number of limitations and caveats to this study must be considered in conjunction with these findings. The authors suggest how already acquired LPRs might be used in ways that might increase their effectiveness in crime hot spots.

View the full final report to NIJ here.

Exploring Developmental Patterns of Crime at Place (completed)

David Weisburd, Elizabeth Groff and Sue-Ming Yang

What contributes to variations of crime patterns across micro-places?

The existence of concentrations of crime events across both space and time has been empirically demonstrated and exists even as the geographic scale of analysis changes.  However, the specific factors associated with this variation across places are less well-known.  This study draws from both opportunity theory and social disorganization to examine the factors associated with micro level crime rates across both space and time.  The spatio-temporal variation of a variety of environmental, social, and economic factors is analyzed.  Specifically, the research describes micro level variation among the individual street blocks in Seattle, Washington over a sixteen year time period. See more about the book from Oxford University Press here.

The Influence of Places on Policing (NIJ DuBois Fellowship) (completed)

Cynthia Lum

Do characteristics of places, in particular their racial, ethnic, immigrant, or language composition, influence police decision making?

As the 2007-2008 National Institute of Justice W.E.B. DuBois Fellow, Dr. Lum examines whether police officers “upgrade” or “downgrade” either the seriousness of a call for service or their decision to take further actions (reports, arrests) may be influenced by the characteristics of people who reside at those places.  Over 250,000 “decision making pathways” for all crime and across all small spaces in an entire city are analyzed in this study.