Micro Places – Bryant et al. (2015)

Study Reference:

Bryant, Kevin M., Collins, Gregory M., and White, Michael D. (2015). Shawnee, Kansas, Smart Policing Initiative: Reducing Crime and Automobile Collisions through Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS). Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice.

See also:

Bryant, Kevin M (with Greg Collins and Josie Villa). (2014). An Evaluation of Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety in Shawnee, Kansas: 2010-2013. Report to the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Smart Policing Initiative. Benedictine College and Shawnee Police Department.

Location in the Matrix; Approach; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:

Micro places; General; Proactive; Moderately rigorous; Effective.

What police practice or strategy was examined?

The Shawnee Police Department (SPD) in Shawnee, Kansas, implemented the Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS) initiative, beginning in July 2010. In this initiative, areas high in both crime and traffic collisions are identified. Additional police officers are then deployed to those areas to create deterrence through visibility, with a goal of eight hours per week in each of the targeted areas. The program was designed as a long-term shift in strategic deployment, rather than a temporary intervention. The model was created to include seven elements: partner and stakeholder participation; data collection; data analysis; strategic operations; information sharing and outreach; monitoring, evaluation, and adjustments; and outcomes. Officers were trained in the new approach, and surrounding business and community members were also informed. Selected hot spots were targeted with High-Visibility Traffic Enforcement (HVTE). The project was implemented with normal staffing levels (no overtime was necessary).

How was the intervention evaluated?

This evaluation consisted of three methods. First, focus groups were conducted with randomly-selected officers and other SPD employees (dispatch, supervisors, etc.). Second, business owners and residents in the community were surveyed on their opinions of the program. Third, SPD and their research partners compared crime statistics in the area during the three years prior to DDACTS implementation and the three years after intervention.

What were the key findings?

Focus groups conducted with SPD employees showed that support for the program and belief in its effectiveness improved over time, as program adjustments were made and the program became more institutionalized in department culture. Survey results indicated that the community was pleased with the program. Trend analyses indicated that the DDACTS program was associated with statistically significant reductions of 84-88% in robbery and commercial burglary as well as a 24% reduction in vehicle collisions. (The program may have also contributed to more modest reductions in residential burglary, license plate thefts, and vehicle collisions with injuries, but these results were not conclusive.)  Comparison (non-DDACTS) sites selected for their similarities to the intervention sites on a number of key variables experienced no significant changes in in crime and vehicle crashes.

What were the implications for law enforcement?

This evaluation demonstrates a number of lessons for law enforcement. Previously, the SPD had managed crime and traffic crashes separately and treated them as unrelated, but this approach shows that they’re often related. Criminals drive cars to commit their crimes or to get away from the crime scene. Like crime, crashes are also concentrated at particular hot spots. Place-based intervention is effective to prevent both crime and crashes. Second, the DDACTS approach of “doing more with less” represents an example of increased efficiency/effectiveness with fewer resources – an increasingly common challenge in today’s world of policing. Third, the evaluation demonstrates the importance of gaining officer support, providing adequate training, and continuous monitoring and improvement, especially for permanent implementation. Fourth, the program’s results demonstrate that deterrence through visibility is effective at reducing crime and crashes. Finally, DDACTS implementation is an example of good communication with the surrounding community. Community members should be viewed as partners, since police need community support to function effectively.

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