Police Innovation and Crime Prevention: Lessons Learned from Police Research Over the Past 20 Years
This review draws upon material available in David L. Weisburd and Anthony A. Braga. (Eds.). 2006. Police Innovation: Contrasting Perspectives. New York: Cambridge University Press.
33 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2015
Date Written: July 20, 2015
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 (Sparrow, Moore, and Kennedy, 1990; Capowich and Roehl, 1994; Sadd and Grinc, 1994). The available evidence on key dimensions of police performance associated with these eight innovations, such as crime control effectiveness and community satisfaction with services provided, is also surprisingly limited. These observations are not unique to the policing field. For example, as Elmore (1997) suggests, the field of education was awash in innovation during the 1990s, but there is little evidence examining whether those innovations advanced the performance of schools, students, or graduates.
Keywords: criminology, innovation, crime, criminal, pulling levers, police
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