Police Innovation and Crime Prevention: Lessons Learned from Police Research over the Past 20 Years   [open pdf - 102KB]

"In a recent volume (Weisburd and Braga, 2006), a group of leading scholars presented contrasting perspectives on eight major innovations in American policing developed over the course of the 1980s and 1990s. In response to rising crime rates and growing public dissatisfaction, police departments needed to improve their performance and innovation provided the opportunity to make these improvements. These innovations included community policing, 'broken windows' policing, problem-oriented policing, 'pulling levers' policing, third-party policing, hot spots policing, Compstat, and evidence-based policing. These strategies represented fundamental changes to the business of policing. However, as many police scholars and executives point out, improving police performance through innovation is often not straightforward. Police departments are highly resistant to change and police officers often experience difficulty in implementing new programs […]. While our knowledge about the effects of these innovations on police performance is still developing, we think there is much reason for optimism about the future of policing. This period of innovation has demonstrated that police can prevent crime and can improve their relationships with the communities they serve. In the near future, we don't anticipate the dramatic strategic innovations that characterized the last two decades. Rather, we expect further refinement of our knowledge of 'what works' in policing, under what circumstances particular strategies may work, and why these strategies are effective in improving police performance. The challenge for the future of policing is to continue making progress in further developing and implementing promising strategies while addressing the new problems of public safety that have been created by 9/11 and the concerns that it has raised about the threat of terrorism and the need for police commitment to homeland security."

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National Criminal Justice Reference Service: http://www.ncjrs.gov/
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