This study examined the effects of highly publicized policing interventions on homicide rates in three cities: Boston, New York, and Richmond, VA.
Declining crime rates during the 1990s led police officials to take credit for the decline, particularly the decline in violent crimes. Indeed, three cities touted the impact of their highly publicized policing intervention programs as integral to declining crime rates: Boston's Operation Ceasefire, New York's Compstat, and Richmond, Virginia's Project Exile. In order to measure the impact of these programs on homicide trends, the authors gathered homicide data from the Supplemental Homicide Reports (SHR) for the period 1992 through 2001. Piecewise linear growth models were used to evaluate the homicide trends while controlling for a wide range of other influences on homicide, such as male unemployment rate and median family income. Results revealed that New York's homicide trend was consistent with homicide trends in other large cities, indicating no effect of the Compstat intervention program. Boston's homicide trends did decrease more dramatically than other comparable cities, yet the small number of homicide incidents in the city precludes robust conclusions. Finally, Richmond demonstrated significantly greater homicide reductions than comparable cities following the implementation of Project Exile, suggesting the intervention caused the reduction. Future research should continue to use comparable data and methods to evaluate the impact of policing interventions on crime rates. Footnotes, figures, table, references, appendixes