Displacement of crime and diffusion of crime control benefits in large-scale geographic areas: a systematic review

Cody W. Telep*, David Weisburd, Charlotte E. Gill, Zoe Vitter, Doron Teichman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Objectives: To conduct a systematic review examining the extent to which there is crime displacement or a diffusion of crime control benefits in social control interventions implemented in medium sized or large geographic areas.

Methods: A number of search strategies were used to identify and code eligible experimental or quasi-experimental studies that measured displacement in areas larger than crime hot spots. A total of 33 publications covering 43 quasi-experimental studies were identified as eligible. Nineteen of these publications covering 20 studies were included in a meta-analysis.

Results: The narrative results overall suggest that displacement is not a common occurrence in interventions implemented at larger units of geography and a diffusion of crime control benefits is somewhat more likely to occur. The effect sizes from the meta-analyses suggest that, while the interventions, on average, were associated with a significant decline in crime, displacement was not likely to occur. The meta-analyses found no significant overall evidence of displacement or a diffusion of benefits.

Conclusions: These findings are in line with previous reviews that have focused on displacement at smaller geographic units. When examining larger geographic scales and a broader array of interventions, spatial displacement is still a fairly unlikely occurrence.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)515-548
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Experimental Criminology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 9 Dec 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Diffusion of benefits
  • Displacement
  • Large areas
  • Meta-analysis
  • Systematic review


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