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What Came First: the Police or the Incident? Bidirectional Relationships Between Police Actions and Police Incidents

NCJ Number
Policing & Society Volume: 29 Issue: 7 Dated: 2019 Pages: 783-801
Date Published
19 pages
This study examined the long-term, bidirectional relationships between calls for service, crime, and two police patrol strategies in Santa Monica, California: foot patrol and police stops.

Using 9 years of monthly data (2006-2014), the study estimated two sets of block-level, longitudinal models to tease apart these relationships. In the first set of models, the study used police actions and calls for service in the preceding month(s) to predict crime in the subsequent month. In the second set of models, the study used calls for service and crime in the preceding month(s) to predict police actions in the subsequent month. The study found that although changes in calls for service and crime often precede changes in police action, changes in crime also tended to follow them.The study results thus provide important insight into the spatial and temporal relationships between police actions and police incidents. Police actions must be tailored to police incidents at precise levels if long-term deterrent effects at these levels are to be achieved. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019