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Promising Program Seal

Offender-Focused Policing

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

A policing program designed to reduce violence at violent-crime hot spots by proactively targeting repeat offenders.

Program Outcomes

  • Adult Crime
  • Delinquency and Criminal Behavior

Program Type

  • Police Crime Prevention

Program Setting

  • Community (e.g., religious, recreation)

Continuum of Intervention

  • Selective Prevention (Elevated Risk)

Age

  • Late Adolescence (15-18) - High School
  • Early Adulthood (19-22)
  • Adult

Gender

  • Male and Female

Race/Ethnicity

  • All Race/Ethnicity

Endorsements

  • Blueprints: Promising
  • Crime Solutions: Effective

Program Information Contact

Kevin M. Thomas
Director of Research and Analysis
Strategic Intelligence & Information Sharing Division / Intelligence Bureau
Phone: (215) 897-0804
Email: kevin.thomas@phila.gov

Philadelphia Police Department / Delaware Valley Intelligence Center
www.phillypolice.com

Program Developer/Owner

  • Philadelphia Police Department

Brief Description of the Program

Offender-focused policing is a merging of crime analysis and criminal intelligence to proactively target repeat offenders in hot spots (or small places with crime problems). Teams of local officers work with central intelligence analysts to identify and maintain a list of individuals thought to be causing problems in hot spot areas. Officers provide the identified offenders with frequent extra attention, ranging from casual small talk to questioning and serving warrants for recent offenses.

See: Full Description

Outcomes

Compared to places receiving no special policing, offender-focused policing significantly reduced:

  • incidences of violent crime (Groff et al., 2015)
  • repeat arrests (Santos & Santos, 2016)

Subgroup Details

Not reported.

Brief Evaluation Methodology

Groff et al. (2015) conducted a randomized control trial in which 81 violent hot spots in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania were randomly assigned to one of three treatments (foot patrol, n=20; problem-oriented policing, n=20; or offender-focused policing, n=20) or one control (n=21) condition. Control received “business-as-usual” policing consisting of random patrol between calls for service. Outcomes included violent crime (homicide, robberies, aggravated assaults, or simple non-felony assaults) and violent felonies (except simple assaults) assessed at baseline (June 7, 2010) with follow-up data collected across 19 bi-weekly observation periods that ended on February 27, 2011 (or 8.5 months after baseline).

Ratcliffe et al. (2015) is a complementary study to Groff et al. (2015), using the same region, data, and time frame, but surveying residents who live in the hot spot areas for their perceptions of the effects of the offender-focused policing program. A total of 1,830 surveys were mailed to residents in the offender-focused areas, with 152 returned at baseline and 160 returned posttest.

Santos and Santos (2016) used a randomized controlled field experiment of 48 hot spots in one suburban city with average crime levels. Blocked into three groups based on crime frequency (low, medium, high), the identified hot spots were randomly assigned to intervention (n = 24) and control (n =24) groups. For the intervention, detectives regularly visited previous offenders at home over a 9-month period (October 2013-June 2014). Data were collected on four measures during October 2012-June 2013 (a “pre-test period”) and compared to data collected during the 9-month intervention period.