Micro Places – Chainey et al. (2021)

Study Reference:

Chainey, S. P., Serrano–Berthet, R., & Veneri, F. (2021). The impact of a hot spot policing program in Montevideo, Uruguay: An evaluation using a quasi-experimental difference-in-difference negative binomial approach. Police practice and research, 22(5), 1541-1556.

Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:

Micro places; General; Proactive; Moderately Rigorous; Effective

What police practice or strategy was examined?

This study examined the effect of hot spots policing in Latin American, focusing on the PADO (Programa de Alta Dedicación Operativa) initiative implemented in Montevideo, Uruguay, in April 2016. The objective of the PADO intervention was to reduce robbery on streets or public spaces. To achieve this goal, police patrols were deployed to 120 targeted areas, comprising a small number of street segments and street junctions grouped into 28 circuits. These patrols, typically consisting of two to three officers on foot across their assigned street segments, were supported by two to four dedicated motorcycle patrols and a supervising officer in a car patrol within each circuit. PADO patrols operated between 17:00 and 1:00 hours (informed by a temporal analysis of robbery patterns), and were primarily conducted by young officers following their training from the police academy.  In total, 525 police officers were dedicated to the program.

How was the intervention evaluated?

This study employed an advanced statistical technique (i.e., difference-in-difference analysis) to compare robbery rates in PADO patrol areas with those in control areas. Official crime data on robbery from January 2013 to December 2016, including the period before and after the PADO intervention, were used for the analysis. The researchers also established two control groups: Control group 1 included areas within 300 meters of PADO treatment areas, while control group 2 included areas located more than 300 meters from PADO treatment areas. To measure the main effect of the intervention, researchers compared the change in robberies from pre- to post-intervention in the treatment areas to the change in robberies in the control areas. To measure spatial displacement, researchers compared the change in robberies in control group 1 to the change in robberies in control group 2.

What were the key findings?

The study found that there was a significant decrese in robbery rates, with a 23 percent reduction in the treatment areas compared to the control areas. Furthermore, the study did not identify significant displacement effects from the PADO treatment areas to non-PADO areas.

What were the implications for law enforcement?

This study contributes to the global evidence-base on hot spot policing, demonstrating that large-scale hot spots policing may work in reducing crime in challenging environments of Latin American cities without crime displacement effects. The findings of this research underscore the importance of employing hot spots policing strategies to effectively optimize the allocation of police resources in crime reduction.

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