Impact of Evidence-Based Policing Strategies in Law Enforcement

In today's data-driven era, law enforcement agencies are increasingly adopting Evidence-Based Policing Strategies. These strategies leverage empirical evidence to enhance operational effectiveness and efficiency, initiating a significant shift in the law enforcement paradigm. These powerful strategies, backed by robust data, offer the potential to confront challenges head-on, leading the way toward smarter policing.

What Are Evidence-Based Policing Strategies?

Evidence-based policing refers to applying empirical research - a way of acquiring knowledge through direct and indirect experience - to drive informed decision-making at all levels of law enforcement.

This innovative approach promotes using the most credible research on police work outcomes to shape policies and practices with a proven success record. By focusing on strategies validated by substantial evidence, evidence-based policing ensures greater efficiency, transparency, and efficacy in policing.

The essence of successful policing strategies often lies in fostering relationships and trust, both within police organizations and with the communities they serve. However, incorporating contextual data, technological advancements, and empirical research in officer training and decision-making must be considered as it contributes to evidence-based policing effectively.

Understanding Evidence-Based Policing Strategies with Examples

When it comes to law enforcement, there has been a consistent movement towards incorporating research and data in policing strategies - which is precisely what evidence-based policing advocates.

As the name suggests, evidence-based policing employs strategies backed by rigorous scientific research, often using randomized controlled trials (RCTs) as the foundational method. RCTs present the most reliable source of evidence because they enable direct comparison of intervention outcomes against a control group (the counterfactual scenario).

The following section provides a more detailed exploration of some examples of evidence based policing strategies that have shown considerable success and may be applied in various jurisdictions.

1. Addressing Recurring Offenders and Crime Patterns

Some studies have previously shown that crime distribution is not equal. Instead, crime risks fluctuate depending on the time of day, day of the week, season, and even the weather. Furthermore, as per the research study conducted by Lawrence W. Sherman in 1992, “less than 3% of the population in a city produce over half the crime and arrests.

These insights show the importance of understanding crime patterns. Law enforcement agencies can use this information to allocate more resources within the peak crime periods to control crime effectively.

2. Utilizing Hot Spot Policing

The idea behind hot spot policing is that specific locations - known as hot spots - see a higher frequency of crime than others. As per the study carried out in Sacramento indicates that interventions within hot spots led to a 25% decrease in crime incidents in these areas as compared to areas without interventions. In light of this study, law enforcement agencies can make a policy for police officers to take round in the hotspot after a specific time to ensure consistent presence in the area. Furthermore, regular visits to these areas by police leadership can cultivate dedication and trustworthiness - providing deeper insights into new strategies and deployments.

3. Reducing the Risk of Burglaries

As the study conducted by Amendola KL, Groff ER, Taniguchi T A. (2018) highlighted that the likelihood of residential burglary near the victim's residence tends to increase based on a time-space window. This at-risk window is different for different locations - for example, it is 656 ft. and 2 months for Philadelphia, PA, US. After a burglary, it is advisable to alert neighbors about their increased risk and suggest preventative measures for the near-repeat burglary phenomenon. These measures include reinforcing locks, employing video surveillance, trimming overgrown shrubs, and raising awareness in the community.  Moreover, it is one of the excellent example of evidence based policing strategies and how policing can be done based on real-time evidence.

4. Forecasting Domestic Homicides

Thornton S. in 2017 analyzed different cases of deadly violence and concluded that 
“a promising predictor for male offenders in these cases may be a prior marker for suicide (ideation, threats or attempts), but the use of that marker requires further research on the extent to which it can be identified before the deadly violence occurs, either from police contacts or other sources, so that more intensive efforts can be undertaken to prevent deadly violence in the truly high-risk cases.”

Meanwhile, law enforcement can consider this as a risk factor and align services to support potential people, especially when there are signs of suicidal tendencies. However, more research must be conducted on this aspect.

5. Adopting Cognitive Interviewing Techniques

Research by Koehnken G, Milne R, Memon A, Bull R in 1999 has shown that cognitive interviewing techniques - asking open-ended questions and emphasizing sensory details - effectively recover memories up to 35 years old. Thus, it is very helpful in a wide range of applications, from medical examinations to psychotherapy and historical investigations. Displaying empathy and using potent retrieval cues like smell and sound can also make victims feel validated and supported, thereby decreasing the chance of being victimized again.

How to Implement Evidence-Based Policing Strategies Through Excel and Geofence Warrants?

Leveraging technology in evidence-based policing enhances law enforcement operations' efficiency and effectiveness. A key asset in this technological toolbox is the Law Enforcement Excel Spreadsheets. This tool offers significant resources and features for organizing, analyzing, and visualizing data that directly inform strategic decision-making processes. By facilitating rapid access to relevant data, Excel Spreadsheets aid in identifying crime trends, hot spots, and pattern analysis. Officers and analysts equipped with this knowledge can deploy resources more efficiently and amplify the impact of their policing strategies as a result.

Another potent tool revolutionizing evidence-based policing is the Google geofence warrant. This warrant allows law enforcement agencies to obtain crucial location history data for specific geographical areas and timeframes. These geofence warrants offer a valuable resource for criminal investigations, enhancing the granularity and accuracy of evidence obtained. For instance, in cases with no immediate suspects or witnesses, geofence warrants can provide digital evidence that could potentially identify suspects or corroborate existing evidence.

Thus, with the use of Excel and geofence warrants, law enforcement agencies can augment their evidence-based policing strategies and drive more effective crime prevention and resolution outcomes.

BlueForce Learning | The Best Data-Based Online Training for Law Enforcement

Evidence-based policing does not aim to replace traditional policing but seeks to enhance it by incorporating empirical data and research into daily operations. Through consistent data assessment with skilled crime analysts, officers will be better positioned for officer safety and crime reduction success. In the quest for progress, it is crucial to remember that being scientifically literate empowers individuals to analyze claims and practices critically. And law enforcement officers can implement these strategies with knowledge of relevant approaches.

BlueForce Learning is a skills learning platform that offers Online Training for Law Enforcement, including premier Excel training, Crime Analysis, and Geofence Warrant for law enforcement professionals. We aim to equip law enforcement professionals with practical crime-fighting skills by transforming data into an ally.

We go beyond traditional teaching by integrating practical exercises based on real-life scenarios into our modules. With personalized support and continuous course access, our learners develop a robust understanding. Join our courses today and start fighting crime effectively with data!