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Is problem-oriented policing effective in reducing crime and disorder?: Findings from a Campbell systematic review

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Research Summary

We conducted a Campbell systematic review to examine the effectiveness of problem-oriented policing (POP) in reducing crime and disorder. After an exhaustive search strategy that identified more than 5,500 articles and reports, we found only ten methodologically rigorous evaluations that met our inclusion criteria. Using meta-analytic techniques, we found an overall modest but statistically significant impact of POP on crime and disorder. We also report on our analysis of pre/post comparison studies. Although these studies are less methodologically rigorous, they are more numerous. The results of these studies indicate an overwhelmingly positive impact from POP.

Policy Implications

POP has been adopted widely across police agencies and has been identified as effective by many policing scholars. Our study supports the overall commitment of police to POP but suggests that we should not necessarily expect large crime and disorder control benefits from this approach. Moreover, funders and the police need to invest much greater effort and resources to identify the specific approaches and tactics that work best in combating specific types of crime problems. We conclude that the evidence base in this area is deficient given the strong investment in POP being made by the government and police agencies.
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Keywords: Campbell systematic review; metaanalysis; police effectiveness; problem-oriented policing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Walter E. Meyer Professor of Law and Criminal Justice at the Hebrew University Law School, and the Distinguished Professor of Administration of Justice at George Mason University. 2: Doctoral student in the Justice, Law, and Crime Policy Program in the Administration of Justice Department at George Mason University. 3: Assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Georgia State University. 4: Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati.

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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