Neighborhood – Barthe & Stitt (2011)

Study Reference:

Barthe, E. P., & Stitt, B. G. (2011). Impact of increased police presence in a non-criminogenic area. Police Practice and Research: An International Journal, 12(5), 383-396.

Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:

Neighborhoods; General; Reactive; Moderately Rigorous; Effective

What police practice or strategy was examined?

This study examined the impact of increased police presence on crime in a non-criminogenic area following a serious murder case. The community where the murder took place is an affluent and well-maintained one with a higher rate of petty property crime and drug/alcohol incidents due to the student population, but a lower rate of violent crime compared to the city average. In investigating the murder case, the police conducted several activities in the neighborhood including patrolling, neighborhood interview, and approaching male individuals to collect DNA information, all of which have resulted in a significant increase in police presence in that community. The intensified police presence was unexpected and was only driven to the specific geographic location because of the kidnap/murder case. Because of this, the increase in police activity was not characterized by traditional increases in the number of uniformed officers on patrol in the area, but by many types of uniformed and undercover law enforcement personnel conducting a variety of activities.

How was the intervention evaluated?

By selecting a demographically similar area nearby as a comparison and examining calls for service data over time between January 2007 and August 2008 in both areas (the murder case occurred in January 2008), the authors evaluated the impact of increased police presence on person crimes, property crime, and disorder incidents.

What were the key findings?

There were declines in person (26%) and property calls (58%) in the target area relative to the comparison site, but a large increase in disorder calls (95%). The latter finding may be explained by the presence of the intervention, which may have increased the likelihood that residents would report suspicious and disorderly activity.

What were the implications for law enforcement?

The authors suggest that small, non-criminogenic areas could benefit from increased police presence.

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