Neighborhood – Weisburd et al. (2020)

Study Reference:

Weisburd, D., Hasisi, B., Litmanovitz, Y., Carmel, T., & Tshuva, S. (2020). Institutionalizing   problem‐oriented policing: An evaluation of the EMUN reform in Israel. Criminology & Public Policy, 19(3), 941–964.

Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:

Neighborhoods; Focused; Highly Proactive; Rigorous; Effective

What police practice or strategy was examined?

This study evaluated the effects of problem-oriented policing on property crime in Israel during 2017. The EMUN program was developed and institutionalized as an organizational system to support and reinforce innovative problem-solving efforts within the police agency. Each police station had to develop a yearly plan using scanning, analysis, response, and assessment techniques. Scanning required each station to identify three problems (i.e., significant crime or public order disturbances) through local crime trends and resident accounts. During analysis, a sophisticated crime analysis system was developed and institutionalized. Using this system, each station had to present an in-depth analysis of crime data before their yearly plan was approved. For each problem identified and analyzed, stations created an action plan. Each action plan had to rely on the stations own resources, district resources, external resources, and situational prevention techniques to be approved. During the response phase, intervention activities were focused on high crime “polygons”, typically the size of a neighborhood. Response activities varied, but included tactics such as road closures, restricted alcohol sales, improved street lighting, CCTV, and collaboration with third-party agencies and stakeholders. Finally, the crime analysis system was used to assess how effective each station was in addressing its identified problems during the assessment phase.

How was the intervention evaluated?

A difference-in-differences approach was used to evaluate the effect of the intervention on property crime, which was chosen as the key outcome and measured using the monthly number of new investigation cases open. One low, moderate, and high-crime police station that focused on property crime was randomly selected for analysis. Two control stations that did not focus on property crime were matched to each selected intervention on a range of characteristics. The effectiveness of the intervention was assessed inside the targeted area (i.e., polygon), outside the targeted area, and at the jurisdiction level.

What were the key findings?

In the high-crime treatment station, there were significant reductions in crime ranging from 40-49% for the treatment area compared to the control areas. There was no evidence of displacement, but rather a significant 17% decline in property crime outside the treatment area compared to control station 2. In addition, there were significant jurisdictional reductions in crime ranging from 11-19% compared to control stations. In the moderate-crime-rate treatment station, there were significant reductions in crime ranging from 40-50% for the treatment area compared to the control areas, and a significant 30% reduction outside the polygon compared to control station 1. There were also significant jurisdictional reductions in the moderate crime area, ranging from 12-13% compared to control stations. There were no statistically significant effects found in the low-crime-rate treatment station.

What were the implications for law enforcement?

The authors suggest that the intervention led to significant reductions in property crimes and strong prevention benefits in the targeted locations. The authors recognize recent concerns that place-based approaches may not lead to jurisdictional impacts; however, they find that this intervention led to significant reductions overall. Lastly, the authors do note the similarities and differences between Israel and the United States, and as such, these should be taken into account when implementing similar reforms.

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