Micro Places – White & Katz (2013)

Study Reference:

White, M. D. & Katz, C. M. (2013). Policing Convenience Store Crime: Lessons from the Glendale, Arizona Smart Policing Initiative. Police Quarterly, (16)3: 305-322.

Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:

Micro places; Focused; Proactive; Moderately Rigorous; Effective

What police practice or strategy was examined?

This study tests the impact of problem-oriented policing on crime and disorder at convenience stores in Glendale, Arizona as part of the Smart Policing Initiative (SPI, Bureau of Justice Assistance). The SPI analysis demonstrated that crime was disproportionately occurring at Circle K stores compared to other convenience stores in the city, and that juveniles were committing a large proportion of the crimes at these stores. The majority of the calls were for property crimes, disorder, and welfare checks. To address this issue, crime analysts conducted CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) surveys of the stores and also surveillance of the most active locations. The SPI team identified a number of Circle K management practices that were largely responsible for the crime problem, namely inadequate staffing, failure to respond to panhandling, loitering, and graffiti; as well as violations of basic CPTED principles such as poor lighting, obstructed lines of sight, and high-risk product placement. The SPI team developed a multipronged response that included intervention with Circle K leadership and the implementation of prevention and suppression strategies. Part of the prevention effort addressed this specific demographic with public service announcements (PSAs) from the Youth Advisory Commission. The police also assisted in intensive surveillance and enforcement operations at the six targeted Circle K stores, which led to 57 arrests.

How was the intervention evaluated?

The authors examined the impact of the Glendale SPI on calls for service at the six target Circle K stores in comparison to all other convenience stores in Glendale. They employed analysis of variance (ANOVA) to examine mean monthly changes in calls for service between the pretest period and the posttest period, both by individual store location and by category of stores (e.g., SPI Stores/Target Group; Circle K Comparison Group, etc.).

What were the key findings?

Results indicate that crime dropped significantly at the SPI targeted stores (42 percent) from the year preceding the intervention to the year after. This decline is inconsistent with crime patterns witnessed at the remaining convenience stores in the city of Glendale.

What were the implications for law enforcement?

The findings suggest that some businesses might be more likely to generate crime than others because of corporate management practices, store designs, and security practices. Addressing these problem through a problem-solving approach can be effective in reducing crime.

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