Policing drug hot spots: The jersey city drug market analysis experiment

David Weisburd, Lorraine Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

420 Scopus citations


This paper reports the results of a randomized experimental evaluation of an innovative drug enforcement strategy developed as part of the Drug Market Analysis Program. Using computer mapping techniques, we identified 56 “hot spots” of drug activity that were randomized in statistical blocks to experimental and control conditions. The experimental strategy followed a stepwise approach that sought to engage business owners and citizens in crime control efforts, to apply pressure to reduce drug and drug-related activity through police crackdowns, and to initiate a maintenance program with the assistance of the patrol division of the department. In line with tactics employed by street-level narcotics units in many other American cities, the control strategy involved unsystematic arrest-oriented narcotics enforcement based on ad hoc target selection. Comparing seven-month preand post-intervention periods, we find consistent and strong effects of the experimental strategy on disorder-related emergency calls for service. We also find little evidence of displacement of the crime control benefits of the study to areas near the experimental hot spots. Indeed, through two separate methods, our data suggest a “diffusion of benefits” around the experimental as compared with control locations.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)711-735
Number of pages25
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1995


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