Advocate: Hot spots policing as a model for police innovation

David Weisburd, Anthony A. Braga

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Looking at the major police innovations of the last decade, what is most striking from a criminologist's perspective is the extent to which new programs and practices have been developed without reference to either criminological theory or research evidence. Some institutional theorists might argue that this is understandable given the limited ability of police agencies to reliably demonstrate their successes, and the political environments within which police agencies must operate (Meyer and Rowan 1977; Mastrofski and Ritti 2000; Willis, Mastrofski, and Weisburd 2004). However, this reality is very much at odds with a model of policing that would seek to draw new policies and practices from a solid research base (Sherman 1998), and suggests an approach to policing that is based more on intuition and luck than on research and experimentation. Recent studies of the adoption of police innovation reinforce this problematic portrait of American police innovation. Widely touted programs such as Community Policing or Compstat have been widely diffused across the landscape of American policing absent any reliable evidence that they accomplish the goals that they set out to achieve at the outset (Weisburd, Mastrofski, McNally et al. 2003; Weisburd and Eck 2004). In this context, “hot spots policing” represents a particularly important innovation on the American police scene. Its origins can be traced to innovations in criminological theory, and it was subjected to careful empirical study before it was diffused widely across American police agencies.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationPolice Innovation
Subtitle of host publicationContrasting Perspectives
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780511489334
ISBN (Print)052183628x, 9780521836289
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2006

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2006 and Cambridge University Press, 2009.


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