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Crime and Policing Revisited

NCJ Number
Date Published
Anthony A. Braga
One in a series of papers that will be published as a result of Harvard’s Executive Sessions on Policing and Public Safety, this essay notes the stark differences in the nature of the police crime control conversations between the first and second Executive Sessions.
These differences were the result of an unprecedented period of police innovation and simultaneous growth in rigorous evaluation research on what works in police crime prevention. This essay begins with a brief historical overview of what was known about the police and crime prevention at the time of the first Executive Session and what were then proposed as promising new ways for the police to reduce crime. Challenges to the perception that innovative policing strategies generate crime-reduction gains are then reviewed. The essay concludes by offering recommendations for continuing effective police crime prevention policies and practices suggested by participants of the second Executive Session that are supported by existing research evidence. Although the evaluation evidence tended to cluster within specific types of police crime prevention programs, the study findings are complementary when aggregated into common themes. The indications are that the police should adopt a flexible “community problem-solving” approach in dealing with crime and disorder and draw upon specific kinds of programs that fit local community needs. This approach should be based in interaction with the community, the analysis of crime problems, and the development of appropriate prevention responses. 113 references
Date Created: September 16, 2015