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The Effects of 'Pulling Levers' Focused Deterrence Strategies on Crime

Campbell Systematic Reviews 2012:6

Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper

91 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2015  

Anthony A. Braga

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Criminal Justice

David L. Weisburd

Hebrew University of Jerusalem; George Mason University - The Department of Criminology, Law & Society; Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law

Date Written: March 2012

Abstract

A number of American police departments have been experimenting with new problem-oriented policing frameworks to prevent gang and group-involved violence generally known as the “pulling levers” focused deterrence strategies. Focused deterrence strategies honor core deterrence ideas, such as increasing risks faced by offenders, while finding new and creative ways of deploying traditional and nontraditional law enforcement tools to do so, such as directly communicating incentives and disincentives to targeted offenders. Pioneered in Boston to halt serious gang violence, the focused deterrence framework has been applied in many American cities through federally sponsored violence prevention programs. In its simplest form, the approach consists of selecting a particular crime problem, such as gang homicide; convening an interagency working group of law enforcement, social service, and community-based practitioners; conducting research to identify key offenders, groups, and behavior patterns; framing a response to offenders and groups of offenders that uses a varied menu of sanctions (“pulling levers”) to stop them from continuing their violent behavior; focusing social services and community resources on targeted offenders and groups to match law enforcement prevention efforts; and directly and repeatedly communicating with offenders to make them understand why they are receiving this special attention. These new strategic approaches have been applied to a range of crime problems, such as overt drug markets and individual repeat offenders, and have shown promising results in the reduction of crime.

Keywords: Police, gang, pulling levers, violence, homicide, law enforcement

Suggested Citation

Braga, Anthony A. and Weisburd, David L., The Effects of 'Pulling Levers' Focused Deterrence Strategies on Crime (March 2012). Campbell Systematic Reviews 2012:6; Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2630354

Anthony A. Braga

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-9835 (Phone)

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Criminal Justice ( email )

123 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102-309
United States

David L. Weisburd (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, IL 91905
Israel

George Mason University - The Department of Criminology, Law & Society ( email )

4400 University Drive
MS 4F4
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Scopus, 91905
Israel

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