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A Place-Based Approach To Address Youth-Police Officer Interactions In Crime Hot Spots: A Randomized Controlled Trial

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2023
28 pages

This study assessed the effectiveness of two interventions to address youth-police officer interactions in crime hot spots. 


This study found that POP Only/POP for Youth proved to not be effective in the very difficult circumstances of this study; however, that does not preclude POP nor youth-focused POP from being effective under more typical conditions as seen in prior research. With funding from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the authors of this study designed and implemented a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to examine the impact of two interventions on crime and related community and youth outcomes compared to a control condition, defined as standard patrol, in three mid-Atlantic cities within the same county. Both interventions trained and encouraged LEOs to apply a POP approach to address crime problems. The first intervention focused solely on POP (POP Only)/Pop for Youth development concepts on crime and police-youth relationship and interactions and the second intervention incorporated training for law enforcement agencies on POP and community engagement strategies, youth development, and strategies for positive police-youth interactions (POP for Youth). The overall purpose of the research is to test whether place-based proactive POP strategies combined with training for patrol LEOs in youth interactions and crime prevention can be implemented to achieve crime reduction and broader community/youth and officer benefits. This study had three main goals: (1) to examine the effectiveness of POP for Youth in reducing property and violent crime; (2) to assess the effect of the intervention on youth perceptions of police legitimacy, experience of LEO youth interactions, and feelings of safety; (3) to (qualitatively) assess the impact on LEO attitudes, knowledge and experience of interacting with youth.

Date Published: September 1, 2023