Hot spots policing and crime reduction: an update of an ongoing systematic review and meta-analysis

Anthony A. Braga*, Brandon S. Turchan, Andrew V. Papachristos, David M. Hureau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objectives: This updated systematic review assesses the effects of focused police crime prevention interventions at crime hot spots. The review also examined whether focused police actions at specific locations result in crime displacement or diffusion of crime control benefits. Methods: Systematic review protocols and conventions of the Campbell Collaboration were followed to identify eligible hot spots policing studies, and meta-analytic techniques were used to assess the impact of hot spots policing on crime and investigate the influence of moderating variables. Results: The search strategies identified 65 studies containing 78 tests of hot spots policing interventions. Meta-analyses revealed a small statistically significant mean effect size favoring the effects of hot spots policing in reducing crime outcomes at treatment places relative to control places. Crime displacement and diffusion effects were measured in 40 tests. Meta-analyses favored a small statistically significant diffusion of crime control benefits over displacement. Conclusion: The extant evaluation research provides fairly robust evidence that hot spots policing is an effective crime prevention strategy. Focused police intervention at hot spot locations does not seem to result in the spatial displacement of crime into areas immediately surrounding targeted locations. Rather, crime control benefits seem to diffuse into proximate areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-311
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Experimental Criminology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Crime displacement
  • Crime hot spots
  • Crime prevention
  • Hot spots policing
  • Meta-analysis
  • Police
  • Policing experiment
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

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