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The Impact of Mobile Technology Devices on Street Checks and Crime Incidents Reported: Results of a Randomised Controlled Trial

NCJ Number
Journal of Experimental Criminology Volume: 18 Dated: 2021 Pages: 707–724
Date Published
18 pages

This report describes a cluster randomized control trial that tested the impact of mobile technology devices on street checks and reported crime incidents, providing details of the research methodology, outcomes, and implications for practice.


The objective of the study described here was to test the impact of a mobile technology device, including a street check app, on street checks and crime incidents reported. The authors used a cluster randomized control trial design, assigning 1,227 frontline officers to the experimental condition (assigned device) and 2,225 officers to the control condition (not assigned device), clustered by police region. They measured the impact of the mobility device on street checks and crime incidents reported. They used difference-in-difference tests with a negative binomial approach examining time (pre- and post-intervention) and condition (experimental vs control). The authors found a statistically significant interaction between time and condition. Frontline police officers issued with mobile devices recorded significantly more police street checks than those without devices, alongside a small increase in the reporting of summary offence incidents. The authors conclude that efficiency gains associated with mobile devices, including street check activity, need to be carefully managed and translated into policing outcomes that promote proactive, targeted, and procedurally just policing practice. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2021