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Being Smart on Crime With Evidence-Based Policing

NCJ Number
NIJ Journal Issue: 269 Dated: March 2012 Pages: 12-15
Date Published
March 2012
4 pages
Publication Series
In this period of limited resources being available to law enforcement agencies, it is important to ensure that the strategies being used are cost-effective, based on valid and reliable scientific assessments.
Evidence-based policing is a practical solution to the problem of balancing public safety, community service needs, available funds, and taxpayer expectations. It blends the science of controlling crime and disorder with the principles of community policing and problem solving. Unlike practices in medicine and food production, no governmental standards exist for the "production" of policing services or public safety. Consequently, policing practices are based on organizational culture and political and community expectations rather than on scientific findings regarding how to achieve measurable results from policing policies and procedures. Police departments cannot only rely on existing scientific evidence of what works best in policing strategies; they can form partnerships with local universities or colleges to use the services of professors, graduate students, or interns. They can also hire their own in-house criminologists. For approximately the same costs as a patrol officer, the Redlands Police Department (California) hired a criminologist to translate existing research findings, help craft new evidence-based strategies, and evaluate existing ones. Departments that cannot afford this expense can form partnerships with other police agencies in pooling their resources to hire a criminologist. A listing of 12 resources and 20 notes

Date Published: March 1, 2012