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Hot Spots Policing as Part of a City-wide Violent Crime Reduction Strategy: Initial Evidence from Dallas

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 90 Issue:   Dated: JAN-FEB 2024 Pages: 102091
Date Published
January 2024
10 pages

This document reports on a research study to evaluate the impact of a hot-spots policing strategy in Texas which was implemented in May 2021 by the Dallas Police Department (DPD) as part of a comprehensive, city-wide strategic plan to reduce violent crime; the paper describes the research methodology, outcomes, and implications for practice, including the strategy’s potential for reducing crime rates.


A growing body of literature suggests that crime is both concentrated in a small number of geographic units, and committed by a small number of people, within American cities. A related body of empirical evidence, dating back almost three decades, suggests that police can effectively combat violent crime in hot spots by focusing resources within them. The current study evaluates the impact of a hot spots policing strategy in Dallas, Texas as part of a comprehensive, city-wide strategic plan to reduce violent crime. Using difference-in-differences techniques, the authors find consistent evidence that violent crime fell, on average, by 11 percent in targeted hot spots during the first year of the Dallas Crime Plan with no evidence of spatial crime displacement to adjacent areas. Effects varied somewhat by treatment type. The offender-focused treatment was somewhat more effective than the high visibility treatment alone, but both reduced crime by statistically significant amounts. Arrest analyses likewise revealed differential impacts by treatment type, with significant arrest reductions seen in high visibility treatment areas consistent with deterrence and arrest increases in offender-focused areas consistent with the strategy's focus on violent offenders. The contribution of the targeted hot spots to city-wide violent crime decreased significantly over the course of the year, which provides inferential evidence of the strategy's possible city-wide impact on violent crime. Implications of the study for policy, practice, and future research are discussed. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2024