What is Known About the Effectiveness of Police Practices in Reducing Crime and Disorder?

Cody W. Telep, David Weisburd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


We build upon previous reviews of the police effectiveness literature to categorize strategies and tactics based on what police should and should not be doing. We also provide relevant information on what police agencies should be doing to implement effective strategies. We argue police should be focusing on hot spots policing, problem-oriented policing (POP), focused deterrence approaches, directed patrol to reduce gun crime, and using DNA in property cases. Police should also recognize the importance of efforts to enhance legitimacy. In contrast, police should be avoiding standard policing tactics such as random preventive patrol, second responder programs, and Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.). We discuss how well current policing practices match up with effective approaches, describe general implications for policing, and conclude by noting policing strategies which we know too little about to make informed recommendations.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)331-357
Number of pages27
JournalPolice Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
An earlier version of this article was prepared for the “Understanding the Crime Decline in NYC” conference funded by the Open Society Institute. The authors thank David Kennedy, Richard Rosenfeld, and the anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier version of this article.


  • crime reduction
  • police effectiveness
  • what works?


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