CJ sense n nonsense 5

CJ sense n nonsense 5 - 96 CHAPTER 5 T A B L E 5.2...

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Unformatted text preview: 96 CHAPTER 5 T A B L E 5.2 Deployment of patrol officers in two hypothetical cities W City x City Y W Population _ 500,000 500,000 Sworn officers 900 600 Percentage of officers assigned to patrol 50 70 Officers assigned to patrol 450 420 Percentage of patrol officers assigned to 4 P.M.—12 A.M. shift 33 50 Patrol officers, 4 Lit—12. A.M.. shift 148 210 , 190 Two-officer patrols 64 10 Total patrols, 4 rat—12 A.M. 84 200* One-officer patrols 20 look at this important question later.) In short, adding more cops to a department where the officers don't do much active policing is another waste. Before we finish with this question, however, let’s see what the evidence is. Are there lower crime rates in cities with more cops? In the most systematic review of the evidence, Eek and Maguite reviewed 27 studies of the relationship between the number of police officers and the crime rate. They found very mixed results. Only 20 percent of the studies found that more police was corre- lated with lower crime rates, while 30 percent found just the reverse: more police was correlated with more crime. (Keep in mind, the findings involved correlations and not causations.) By the standards of evidence—based crime policy, this 15 not persuasive evidence that increasing the number of police reduces 2 (SHIRE! . \ Hiring More Police: The COPS Program The largest, most intensive and most expensive program to add more police of» ficers in history was the federal Community—Oriented Policing Services (COPS) programJI‘he 1994 Violent Crime Control Act, which launched COPS pro— vrded over $8.8 billion between 1995 and 2000 to put a promised 100,000 more officers on the streets of America. COPS office funds paid for 75 percent of the cost of a new officer for three years. There is a great deal of controversy over the COPS program. Two questions need to be considered. First, did the program actually result in 100,000 more oficers on the street? Second, did those additional officers help reduce crime? Remember, the COPS program coincided with the great crime decline in the 19905. Was it responsible for that decline? Or, was it partly responsible, supple— menting other crime reduction factors? Or was the money simply wasted? Fust we have to specily exactly what the program funded and how many new officers were added. The COPS office made three different kinds of grants. The Universal Hiring Program funded the hiring of new oflicets. Technology grants, meanwhile, funded equipment designed to free officers from administrative - -'rrs'-v_efiirWA;-;~tsu.., , . . UNLEASH THE COPS! 97 duties and make them available for street duty. Finally, innovative grants supported community—oriented policing programs. There is much controversy over how many additional police officers were actually hired because of the COPS program. The estimates are complicated because the COPS program counted officers freed for street duty through technology grants. The most reliable estimates range from a low of 69,000 to a high of about 90,0003 Zhao, Scheider, and Thurman conducted a national evaluation of the impact of the COPS program. They studied 7,179 city police agencies that received COPS funding between 1.994 and 1998 (omitting state police, county sherifis, and other special purpose agencies, as well as 535 cities with populations of less than 1,000). They separately evaluated the three types of COPS grants. The grant data were lagged by one or more years (depending on the type of grant) to allow for implementation. Common sense tells us that it takes time for new officers to be recruited, trained, and placed on the street, so the eHect, if any, will be delayed by a year or more.“ . Analyzing official UCR data from 1994 to 1999, Zhao and his Colleagues found that in cities with 10,000 or more people the hiring grants and the Innovative grants did reduce crime. They estimated that one dollar in grant fimdz'ng per city resident for hiring (that is, $350,000 in a city of 350,000 people) resulted in a decline in 5.26 violent crimes per 100,000 people (e.g., about 18 violent crimes in a city of 350,000 people). Innovative grants, meanwhile, were associated with even greater reductions in violent crimes. No crime reductions were associated with the technology grants, however. These findings were promising, but a cost—benefit analysis puts them in a different perspective. Let's take a hypothetical city of 350,000 people. COPS funding of $350,000 ($1 per resident in the Zhao analysis) would result in a re— duction of about 18 violent crimes (at the rate of 5 per 100,000). This comes to about $19,400 per violent crime. Let’s assume that the city is Omaha, Nebraska (2000 population: 390,000). In 2003 Omaha had 2,627 reported violent crimes. The $350,000 would have purchased less than a 1 percent reduction in violent crime (0.68 percent, to be exact). These data raise serious questions about the cost—effectiveness of the COPS program. It would require an expenditure of an additional $4 million dollars to achieve a 10 percent reduction in violent crime in a city of 350,000. Consider the implications of this for other cities. An additional expenditure of $1.3 million in Phoenix would produce a slightly less than 1 percent reduction in violent crime; and it would take more than an extra $13 million to approach a 10 per— cent reduction. Remember that the ground rules for our inquiry require that a program not just be effective'but that it be consistent with our legal standards (e.g., not violate constitutional law) and that it be practical. This includes considera— tions of cost. The program has to be something we can realistically afford. It is not clear that the COPS formula meets the cost—effectiveness test. A more recent analysis of the COPS program by Worrall and Kovandzic, which corrected for what it saw _as some methodological problems with the Zao study, reached a very different and very pessimistic conclusion: “COPS grants had no discernible effect on serious crime during the period covered."5 93 CHAPTER 5 In their discussion, they explored some of the practical problems in trying to reduce crime by spending money on police ofiicers. When they analyzed the average annual COPS spending in terms of overall spending on police, they found that it represented only one-half of one percent of a typical police depart- ment’s annual budget. That is a very small increase. Furthermore, they point out, as we do, that police are spread pretty thin out there on the street. (See our discussion of the Kansas City Patrol Experiment in the next section.) They esti— mate that because police are deployed in three shifts, no more than 10,000 new officers were out on the street at any one time. For the country as a whole, that’s not many per city per shift. In short, all that money ($8.8 billion) does not—and cannot——increase the police presence in, for example, your neighborhood. We should say, in fairness that measuring the impact of added police oflicers is extremely difficult. Many different variables potentially affect Crime rates, and police staffing patterns vary considerably from department to department. As we will see, a similar problem affects attempts to measure the impact of different sentencing laws from state to state. The debate between the two major studies discussed here is likely to continue into the future. The evidence on the COPS program leads to the following conclusion: _ {M i PROPOEITIONé "“5"” ., ... ”W i a Adding police officers,- m combination with community policing programs, may produce modest reductions in crime brit" is not cost-efiecuve The Deterrent Effect of Patrol: Lessons of Kansas City The idea that a visible police presence deters crime has been the core principle of modern policing since the days of Peel in London. For nearly 150 years everyone accepted this idea on faith, without any scientific evidence to back it up. The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment (1972—1973) one of the most impor— tant research projects in police history, finally tested the deterrent effect of policing.6 The design of the experiment divided the South Patrol District into three groups of patrol beats. Proactive beats received two or three times the named level of patrol. Reactive beats received no routine patrol: Police cats entered those areas only in response to a citizen’s call for service; officers handled the call and then left the beat area. Control beats kept the normal level of patrol. Using a victimization survey, the experiment examined the effect of diflz'erent levels of patrol on criminal activity and citizen perceptions of police protection. Unlike earlier experiments, they controlled for other variables that might affect the level of criminal activity. temporary or random changes in criminal activity, unre— ported crime, the possible displacement of crime into neighboring areas, and the reactions of both police oEicers and citizens to changes in police activity. The Kansas City experiment found that the level of patrol had no (fed on either crime or citizen perceptions andfiaar of crime. Crime did not increase in the re- active heats where there was less patrol and did not decline in the proactive beats a ‘. a 3' s‘ UNLEASH THE COPS! 99 where there was more patrol. Moreover, people did not seem to notice the differences in the level of patrol. Fear of crime did not go up in the reactive beats and did not go down in the proactive beats. It 15 important to emphasize that the experiment did not prove that patrol has absolutely no effect on crime. At no time were there beats with no police presence whatsoever. Patrol cars entered reactive beats to handle 911 calls, and officers in other units (e.g., juvenile, criminal investigation) entered them to handle their own assign— ments. Law—abiding citizens and potential criminals alike saw a marked police car and assumed that the police Were patrolling the area. This phenomenon has been de- scribed as the phantom efiect or residual deterrence. Even if there are no police around, patrol works if people believe that they are. Residual deterrence works in several ways. People who saw patrol cars in proactive beats probably assumed that there were patrol cars in reactive beats. Moreover, as a practical matter we all pass through different police beats as we go about our lives (from home to job, school, the Store, and so (in). When we see a patrol car in one beat, that impression stays with us as we move through other beats. Most important for our purposes, the experiment found that more police patrols did not reduce the criminal activity. The Kansas City findings were partly confirmed by the subsequent Newark (New Jersey) Foot Patrol Experiment (1978—1979), which found that different levels of foot patrol had no effect on the crime rate. Interestingly, however, it also found that additional foot patrol officers reduced citizen fear of crime and improved attitudes toward the police department. This finding proved to be one of the keys to the development of community policing and problem- oriented policing. We will come back to it later.8 Understanding Deterrence and the Police Why did adding patrol officers not reduce crime in either Kansas City or Newark? A major part of the answer lies in the underlying theory of deterrence. The theory assumes that the “treatment” (in this case, police patrol) communi- cates a threat of apprehension and causes people not to commit crime. It logically follows that more police patrol will communicate that threat more effectively and thereby have a greater crime reduction effect. Think about it in basic terms: two patrol cars in a neighborhood will communicate the threat to twice as many people, or to one potential criminal twice as often, as only one patrol car. Deterrence, as we will discuss in Chapter 6, is a matter of social psychology. The target audience has to perceive the threat (in this case, more police patrol), calculate the increased risk (of arrest), understand that the consequences are un- pleasant (prosecution and possible conviction and imprisonment), and then make a rational decision not to commit a crime? In the real world of policing, deterrence theory breaks down. First, police patrol is spread very thin even in the best of circumstances. A patrol car actually passes each point in its assigned beat very few times in any day or seven—day period. Doubling the number of patrol units (increasing the treatment or the “dose") may not represent a difl'erence that people are likely to perceive. It is sort of like taking four aspirins instead of two for a serious health problem. 100 CHAPTER 5 3' Second, many actual or potential ofienders do not perceive police patrol as a meaningful threat. They simply don’t think that they will be caught. The official clearance rate for burglary in 2008, after all, was only 12.5 percent, and the rate for robbery only 26.8. (And remember, these figures are based on reported crimes. Taking into account unreported crimes, the actual clearance rates are much lower.) Teenagers, moreover, have a sense of invincibility. Much crime is impulsive, with offenders not rationally calculating. Experienced criminals, meanwhile, are fatalistic and assume that sooner or later they will be caught. Analyzing the Rand Inmate Survey, James Q. Wilson and Alan Abrahamse found that most priSQn inmates were fatalistic and thought there was a good chance they would be arrested, convicted, or even injured as a result of doing crime. Nonetheless, almost all had committed repeat offenses. Clearly, the fear of adverse consequences did not deter them.10 Third, many crimes are inherently not suppressible by patrol. The majority of murders and assaults, and about half of all rapes, occur between people who know each other. Because they'usually occur indoors and in the heat of passion, the level of police patrol out on the street has no eEect on them. Robbery, burglary, and auto theft, on the other hand, occur outside, and are at least theo— retically suppressible through patrol. By the standards of evidence—based crime policy, both the Kansas City and Newark experiments provide persuasive evidence that simply adding additional pa— trol officers (and not changing how they patrol or what they do) does not increase the deterrent effect of patrol. The evidence leads us to the following proposition: gmmfi d.w* .5?me pmvv— w x" .P’iior’osrrforv 7 , Increasing the level of traditional golice patrol will not? reduce crime- . . _ _ , a , ._ l , THE ALL-SEEING EYE: CCTV Many people are excited about using closed circuit television (CCTV) to moni— tor particular neighborhoods as a means of fighting crime. CCTV involves two strategies. First, many people believe that the presence of the cameras will deter crime. Second, the resulting video recordings will provide evidence that will lead to arrests. CCTV is essentially a technological extension of police patrol: A continuous “eye” observing an area. Think of it as a lot of patrol ofiicers assigned to specific locations. And since potential criminals presumably know the CCTV cameras are there, it theoretically represents a continuous deterrent. Our challenge is to de— termine if these assumptions are correct. CCTVs, of course, are widely used in particular locations: your bank, the local convenience store, the entrance to many apartments, and so on. In some cases they do provide useful images of robbers that are helpfiil in making an arrest. Robbers, of course, know the cameras are there and this raises a serious question about the deterrent effect. A bank or store: however, is a specific location with a high probability of being a crime target. UNLEASH THE COPS! 101 That’s why the owners install cameras. Our question is whether they are effective out in public places, on the streets, and whether they have a deterrent eEect there. CCTVs as a crime fighting tool are far more extensively used in England than the United States. Between 1998 and 2001 alone, the British government spent the equivalent of $250 million in American dollars on CCTVs. This was a huge investment in an area whose population is equal to California and Texas combined. New York City has an enormous CCTV network. The New York Civil Liberties Union, which is primarily concerned about privacy issues, esti—~ mated that the number of cameras in the Greenwich Village/SOHO area in» creased from 142 in 1998 to 2,227 in 2005. This is a huge number of cameras for such a relatively small part of the city.11 Fortunately for us, the effectiveness of CCTVs has been evaluated by David Farrington, one of the world’s top crim— inologists, and others. The evidence is very mixed. Welsh and Farrington reviewed 22 studies of the effectiveness of CCTVs on violent and property crimes, particularly vehicle crimes. To qualify for their review, a study had to use comparable control areas without CCTVs. Among the 13 evalua— tions that involved a city center area or public housing area, the results were mixed. Five reported a positive efi'ect on crime, five reported no effect, and three reported negative results (that is, an increase in crime). Four other studies involved public transportation systems, all of which were subways (three in London, one in Montreal). Some involved other crime—fighting innovations as well as the CCTVs. The evaluations found some overall reduction in crime, but no reduction in violent crimes. Another five evaluations involved automobile parking areas, and all included additional changes such as improved lighting. Four of the five evaluations reported reductions in crime, while one reported an increase in crime.12 In short, CCTVs are most efi'ective in reducing property crime in parking areas, particularly when coupled with other improvements such as better light- ing. This makes sense. Parking areas are fixed locations (much like convenience stores) that are likely targets. There is mixed evidence regarding crime in general public areas, and no evidence of a positive impact on violent crime. This too makes sense. Assaults and robberies on the street do not occur at fixed locations, but are randomly distributed without any pattern (apart from a general high crime area). Considering the enormous cost of CCTVs, the evidence raises ques- tions about the cost—effectiveness (if CCTVs as a crime-fighting strategy. Thus: ' l 'ipnorosrrrq‘ivs " ' Closed circuit television}(CC| V) is not an effective tool for reducing violent crime or groperty crime, exceptrtiir specific locations. emu—nah POLICE “CRACKDOWNS” ON CRIME So far we have discussed proposals to hire and place more officers on the street. This has involved simply the number of officers and not what they actually do. Now let’s examine different police strategies and tactics for reducing crime. We 102 CHAPTER 5 will first look at several traditional strategies. Later we will examine some recent, research-based innovative strategies. . Traditional police “crackdowns” are a classic example of the “get tough” approach to policing. Essentially, a crackdown is a short burst of intensive law en— forcement, involving many arrests, directed toward a particular area or a particular crime.13 One well—known antidrug crackdown was Operation Pressure Point (OPP) in New York City. In the early 19805, OPP targeted an open—air drug market on the city’s Lower East Side that had been described as a “drug buyer’s paradise.” An additional 240 officers flooded the area, dispersing crowds, stopping and question— ' ing suspected drug buyers and sellers, writing traEic tickets, and making a high volume of arrests (more than 2,000 in the first month alone). Also, the police department ended its Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) policy, which allowed persons charged with misdemeanors to be released immediately, and the US. attorney‘s oflice agreed to process many of the drug arrests in federal court, where the defendants would face harsher sentences.14 There are a number of serious question...
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