Does Scientific Evidence Support the Widespread Use of SQFs as a Proactive Policing Strategy?

David Weisburd*, Kevin Petersen, Sydney Fay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The use of pedestrian stops, commonly known as SQFs (Stop, Question, and Frisk), has been one of the most common yet controversial proactive strategies in modern policing. In this paper, we report on a recently completed Campbell Collaboration Systematic Review that allows us to answer key policy questions about the use of SQFs in policing. Is there convincing evidence that pedestrian stops reduce crime? Are claims of negative impacts on individuals confirmed by research? And if there is evidence both of crime reductions and harmful effects, how do such costs and benefits weigh against each other? And finally, how do the impacts of pedestrian stops compare with other proactive policing strategies? Based on our review of findings, we conclude that existing scientific evidence does not support the widespread use of SQFs as a proactive policing strategy.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberpaac098
JournalPolicing (Oxford)
Volume17
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The use of pedestrian stops, commonly known as SQFs (Stop, Question, and Frisk), has been one of the most common yet controversial proactive strategies in modern policing. In this paper, we report on a recently completed Campbell Collaboration Systematic Review that allows us to answer key policy questions about the use of SQFs in policing. Is there convincing evidence that pedestrian stops reduce crime? Are claims of negative impacts on individuals confirmed by research? And if there is evidence both of crime reductions and harmful effects, how do such costs and benefits weigh against each other? And finally, how do the impacts of pedestrian stops compare with other proactive policing strategies? Based on our review of findings, we conclude that existing scientific evidence does not support the widespread use of SQFs as a proactive policing strategy.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

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