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Using Research to Move Policing Forward

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2016
5 pages
Publication Series
The author - A captain in the Fayetteville (North Carolina) Police Department and a 2014 scholar in the Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) program - explains how his agency uses evidence-based research to reduce crime and improve service to the public.
In recent years, the Fayetteville Police Department (FPD) has implemented numerous programs and made many decisions based on research, and it continually evaluates these programs and decisions for their effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability. Some examples are the development of an electronic monitoring unit that places grant-funded GPS monitors on offenders who have committed specific felony crimes; the implementation of a 10-hour shift, rotating between weekdays and weekends on a quarterly basis; and the implementation of CompStat, which locates crime patterns on a map and assesses the resources and techniques used to address crime in various areas. All of these FPD policies and practices have been shown, through research funded by the National Institute of Justice, to be cost-effective in the use of police resources. For the past 2 years, the FPD has also collaborated with a research team from Rutgers University as a pilot organization for a project called Risk Terrain Modeling, which is testing the hypothesis that criminal activity is attracted to particular geographic areas because of specific risk factors in that area. If this is true, then removal of those risk factors will alter the environment and result in lower crime rates in targeted areas. Using new operations based on the results of data analysis, the FPD contributed to an 11-percent reduction in violent crime citywide, thus supporting the hypothesis through research. A description of the LEADS program is included.

Date Published: January 1, 2016