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Crime Mapping and Hot Spots Policing - NIJ Research for the Real World Seminar

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2009
1 page
This video from a session of the National Institute of Justice's Research for the Real World Seminar presents Mary Lou Leary's (Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs) interview with David Weisburd, recipient of the 2010 Stockholm Prize in Criminology, who explains the findings and implications of research that found intensified police patrol in high-crime "hot spots" can substantially decrease crime.
In her introduction to the interview, Ms. Leary notes that the Office of Justice Programs focuses on research as the basis for criminal justice policy and practice. This is the lead-in to the research that Weisburd discusses, which occurred in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Seattle, Washington. This research determined that crime was concentrated in particular neighborhoods and street sectors of the city, which suggests that public safety resources should be concentrated in these "hot spots" for crime. He notes that prior to these research findings, crime prevention tended to focus on the characteristics and rehabilitation of individual offenders and how to change their behaviors, as well as on investigative techniques for solving individual crimes. Weisburd's research, on the other hand, established place-based " policing as another important aspect of crime prevention. This means that police agencies should focus policy development and personnel assignments on places where a disproportionate amount of crime is occurring. Place-based strategies should then be evaluated to determine which are most effective in reducing crime in targeted areas. He suggests, however, that police concentration in such areas must be monitored to ensure residents do not perceive the police as an occupying force. This requires that police interact with residents and community organizations in high-crime areas to ensure that the safety rather than the harassment of residents is the goal of police policy and actions.

Date Published: October 1, 2009