The Impact of Hot Spots Policing on Collective Efficacy: Findings from a Randomized Field Trial

Tammy Rinehart Kochel, David Weisburd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


In disadvantaged neighborhoods, prior research has found reduced social cohesion and less willingness among residents to address disruptive behaviors and violations of social norms. This deficiency is commonly associated with higher levels of disorder and crime. Therefore, recent scholarship has begun to consider whether police can help foster collective efficacy, especially in places struggling with serious crime problems. Early results are somewhat mixed. Yet the cooperation hypothesis asserts that when neighborhood residents see police as a more viable and reliable resource, residents will be emboldened to exert informal social control to address problems. Over the last two decades, hot spots policing has been recognized as an effective method to reduce crime. At the same time, there have been few rigorous studies of whether this approach impacts collective efficacy at hot spots. To investigate this question, we conducted an experiment in 71 crime hot spots, comparing a collaborative problem solving versus a directed patrol (police presence) approach versus standard policing practices. Over time, a substantial increase in police presence did appear to promote modest improvements in collective efficacy. We attribute this finding to the cooperation hypothesis.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)900-928
Number of pages29
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number5
StatePublished - 29 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.


  • collective efficacy
  • cooperation hypothesis
  • directed patrol
  • hot spots
  • policing
  • problem solving


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