The Effects of Hot Spots Policing on Crime: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Anthony A. Braga, Andrew V. Papachristos, David M. Hureau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

458 Scopus citations


In recent years, crime scholars and practitioners have pointed to the potential benefits of focusing police crime prevention efforts on crime places. Research suggests that there is significant clustering of crime in small places or "hot spots." A number of researchers have argued that crime problems can be reduced more efficiently if police officers focused their attention to these deviant places. In this article, we update and improve upon a previously completed Campbell Collaboration systematic review of the effects of hot spots policing and crime. Meta-analyses were used to determine the size, direction, and statistical significance of the overall impact of hot spots policing strategies on crime. The results of our research suggests that hot spots policing generates small but noteworthy crime reductions, and these crime control benefits diffuse into areas immediately surrounding targeted crime hot spots. Our analyses find that problem-oriented policing interventions generate larger mean effect sizes when compared to interventions that simply increase levels of traditional police actions in crime hot spots. We also find that only a small number of studies examine the impacts of hot spots policing on police-community relations. The extant research on this topic, however, suggests that community members have positive reactions to these focused policing actions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-663
Number of pages31
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • crime hot spots
  • hot spots policing
  • meta-analysis
  • police
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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