Risk-focused policing at places: An experimental evaluation

David Weisburd*, Nancy A. Morris, Justin Ready

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Drawing upon literature from developmental criminology and place-based policing, the Redlands, California Police Department developed the Risk-Focused Policing at Places (RFPP) approach to preventing and reducing juvenile delinquency. The RFPP program is a community-oriented policing and problem-solving strategy that targets risk and protective factors related to delinquency and problem behaviors of youths living in census block group areas. We used a matched block randomized experimental design to evaluate the effects of the program on youths living in 26 census block groups in Redlands. We find that the RFPP program did not influence self-reported delinquency, or perceptions of risk and protective factors and police legitimacy. We argue that the primary explanation for the absence of a program effect centers on the unit of analysis used for the program. The census block group is too large a geographic unit of analysis to achieve the kind of targeted and focused interventions that lead to positive crime-prevention outcomes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)163-200
Number of pages38
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project conducted by the Police Foundation was supported by the Office of Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice (OJJDP) Grant Number 2000-JR-VX-004 and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). Many people have helped in the development of this project, and it would be difficult to acknowledge them all. At the same time, there are specific individuals who deserve special mention. We want to thank especially Rosann Greenspan, Research Director at the Police Foundation when our research began; Tamara D. Madensen and Vanessa Ruvalcaba who directed field research and monitored the project; David Hawkins, Richard Catalano, Michael Arthur and the Social Development Research Group in Seattle, WA, who graciously provided advice regarding the creation of scales for the project, and the staff at the Office of Academic Computing at the University of Maryland, who were instrumental in helping us prepare data for analysis. We owe a special debt to the Redlands Department of Education which supplied the names of students for the sample used in our study. Finally, we want to thank Chief Jim Bueermann, who not only invited us to Redlands to conduct this evaluation but also provided an optimal research environment to carry it out. Chief Bueermann encouraged us to subject Risk Focused Policing to tough evaluation whatever the outcomes. We applaud his commitment to evidence based policy.


  • Developmental criminology
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Place-based policing
  • Randomized experiment
  • Risk-focused policing


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