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Program Profile

Hot Spots Policing (Jacksonville, FL)

Evidence Rating: No Effects - One study No Effects - One study

Program Description

Program Goals
The Hot Spots Policing strategy was implemented in Jacksonville, FL, in 2007 as a response to escalating violent crime in the area. The city saw a dramatic increase in violent crime—homicide, in particular—between 2003 and 2008, leading the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) to develop the Hot Spots strategy as a solution. The strategy used a specialized geographic approach intended to concentrate police resources in well-defined “micro” hot spots of violence. The Hot Spot techniques were specifically intended to create reductions in violent crime.

Target Sites
The strategy specifically targeted areas in Jacksonville that suffered high levels of violent crime.

Program Components
The strategy concentrated on the implementation of two proactive policing strategies in hot spots of crime: directed patrol and problem-oriented policing. Both approaches used a data-driven, tailored approach to aim police resources at reducing violence in high-crime areas. The JSO was divided into two separate divisions to implement each type of enforcement:

  • Directed/saturation patrol. This technique is intended to prevent crime from occurring, through the use of intensive patrolling of specific areas by police at particular times. The approach entails the "saturation" of high-crime areas during times of day when crime is most likely to occur, which is intended to promote a deterrent effect. Officers assigned to saturation patrol are relieved from the duty of responding to calls for service and turn their attention to crime reduction in identified locations.
  • Problem-oriented policing (POP). This technique involves the identification of a specific problematic issue in the community to concentrate police resources on developing a solution. The technique enables police officers to focus on reducing violent crime, using situational crime prevention measures, and places less emphasis on law enforcement’s response to crime. For this strategy, POP techniques were used to combat the issue of violence in high-crime locations; this consisted mainly of maintaining order in the community. Some examples of such measures are nuisance abatement, installation of improved street lighting, and improvement of security measures in the community. This strategy also included an emphasis on providing community services, such as citizen outreach and recreational opportunities for youths.
Key Personnel
The strategy requires collaboration between several divisions of the JSO—including the crime analysis unit, patrol officers, sergeants, and lieutenants—in addition to participation from the community.

Program Theory
The strategy is based on the idea that combating violent crime is possible by focusing on hot spots of crime—specific locations where violent crime is concentrated. This approach is based on the routine activities theory of crime, which postulates that crime occurs in the presence of a motivated offender, a suitable target, and the absence of a capable guardian. Thus, Hot Spots Policing uses a geographical approach to concentrate police attention in areas where violence is most likely to occur. This program used problem-oriented policing to concentrate on violent crime, in addition to saturation/directed patrol to deter violent offending in specific high-crime locations.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Part I Uniform Crime Report Offenses
Taylor, Koper, and Woods (2011) found that the problem-oriented policing strategy made a deeper impact on the reduction of Uniform Crime Report (UCR) offenses than the directed/saturation patrol strategy. Hot spots assigned to the problem-oriented policing condition saw decreases across all three categories; however, only the reduction in nondomestic violent crime was statistically significant. Increases in two types of UCR offenses in hot spots assigned to directed/saturation patrol condition were found but were not statistically significant.

Part I UCR violent crime decreased by 20 percent in hot spots assigned to the problem-oriented policing condition, while violent crime increased by 27 percent in hot spots assigned to the directed/saturation patrol condition. However, these findings were not statistically significant.

Part I UCR nondomestic violent crime decreased by 33 percent in hot spots assigned to the problem-oriented policing condition, a statistically significant finding. Nondomestic violent crime increased by 27 percent in hot spots assigned to the directed/saturation patrol condition, but this finding was not statistically significant.

Part I UCR property crime decreased by 5 percent in hot spots assigned to the problem-oriented policing condition, but this finding was not statistically significant. There was no change in property crime in hot spots assigned to the directed/saturation patrol condition.


Calls for Service
There were no significant impacts on calls for service found for either treatment condition. While not statistically significant, increases in violent crime (including nondomestic) calls for service observed in the directed/saturation patrol condition indicate the possibility that this strategy may have led to increased reporting for violent crime.

Calls for service for all violent crime decreased by 11 percent in hot spots assigned to the problem-oriented policing condition, while violent crime calls for service increased by 32 percent in hot spots assigned to the directed/saturation patrol condition. However, these findings were not statistically significant.

Calls for service for nondomestic violent crime decreased by 13 percent in hot spots assigned to the problem-oriented policing condition, while nondomestic violent crime calls for service increased by 34 percent in hot spots assigned to the directed/saturation patrol condition. However, these findings were not statistically significant.

Calls for service for serious property crime decreased by 14 percent in hot spots assigned to the problem-oriented policing condition, while property crime calls for service decreased by 12 percent in hot spots assigned to the directed/saturation patrol condition. However, these findings were not statistically significant.


Displacement/Diffusion Effects
There was evidence of diffusion in two measures of calls for service. It was found that in areas adjacent to hot spots assigned to the problem-oriented policing condition, there was a 29 percent increase in calls for service for all violence and a 31 percent increase in calls for service for nondomestic violence. These increases were found to be statistically significant, indicating a diffusion of benefits of the problem-oriented policing strategy. There were no significant displacement or diffusion effects observed for areas adjacent to hot spots assigned to the directed/saturation patrol condition, nor was there any evidence of displacement or diffusion found in any of the UCR data.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Taylor, Koper, and Woods (2011) conducted a randomized controlled trial to analyze the impact of the Hot Spots Policing strategy on violent crime in Jacksonville, FL. The methodology was based on the SARA (Scanning, Analysis, Response, Assessment) model, which entailed scanning for problems, analysis of problems, development and implementation of responses, and a follow-up assessment of results. First, during the scanning phase, the researchers collected data on crime in Jacksonville from 2006 through 2008. During the analysis phase, they conducted geographic analyses to identify locations with the highest levels of violent crime to develop “hot spots” for the experiment. Based on the data analysis, 83 hot spots of violent crime were identified for inclusion in the experiment. A strategy was then developed during the response phase, which included the use of directed patrol and problem-oriented policing efforts by separate divisions of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO). Each hot spot was randomly assigned to one of three conditions: problem-oriented policing, directed-saturation patrol, or a control condition. Twenty-two hot spots were assigned to the problem-oriented policing condition, which worked to develop tailored strategies to improve order and reduce violent activity. Twenty-one hot spots were assigned to the saturation/directed patrol condition, which included the implementation of intensive, focused patrol. Forty hot spots were assigned to the control condition, which received standard police efforts with no additional resources. Each of these conditions was maintained for 90 days. A pre/post analysis was then conducted to examine the effects 90 days following the intervention in comparison with preintervention levels. All incidents within a 100-foot buffer around each hot spot were counted as a “hit” for each location. Procedures in the JSO were implemented to monitor progress and ensure that officers were carrying out duties as assigned.

The experiment sought to expand on previous studies on the effectiveness of hot spots strategies—specifically, the Lowell Hot Spots study by Braga and Bond (2008), which evaluated the impact of directed patrol and problem-oriented policing on disorder crime in Lowell, Mass. Taylor, Koper, and Woods went beyond the scope of the Lowell study by concentrating on the impact of directed patrol and problem-oriented policing specifically on violent crime, relative to each other and compared with a control condition. The emphasis of the experiment was placed on changes in violent crime and serious property crime, using data from Part I of the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and data on calls for service. Displacement and diffusion effects were also analyzed to supplement the analysis of intervention effects.

  • Part I UCR offenses. This data, which maintains official recordings of serious felonies, was divided into three submeasures: a) Part I UCR violent crime, which included all recorded incidents of aggravated assault, forcible rape, murder, and robbery; b) Part I UCR nondomestic violent crime included only violent crime that did not involve a domestic/intimate partner relationship between the victim and perpetrator; this measure was used to analyze “street violence” in locations as separate from domestic disputes; and c) Part I UCR property crime was used to analyze all recorded incidents of serious property crime, including arson, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft.
  • Calls for service. Calls for service were also divided into the same three submeasures as the UCR data and included all recorded 911 calls for violent crime, nondomestic violent crime, and serious property crime.
  • Displacement/diffusion effects. To measure the potential effects of crime moving to nearby areas, or benefits spreading to nearby areas, offenses that took place beyond the 100-foot buffer around each hot spot but within 500 feet of the respective hot spot were counted.
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Cost

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The Jacksonville (FL) Sheriff's Office used $1 million in overtime resources after the intervention period to provide extra coverage to high-crime areas.
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Implementation Information

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The problem-oriented policing strategy entailed the utilization of extra time and effort. Officers assigned to the problem-oriented policing division received 3 days of intensive training in problem-oriented policing and intelligence-led policing, which were taught by outside experts and Jacksonville (FL) Sheriff’s Office (JSO) staff. Overall, the JSO allocated 2,100 hours to the problem-oriented policing efforts, for an average of approximately 95 officer-hours per week, per hot spot.

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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Taylor, Bruce, Christopher S. Koper, and Daniel J. Woods. 2011. “A Randomized Controlled Trial of Different Policing Strategies at Hot Spots of Violent Crime.” Journal of Experimental Criminology 7(2):149–181.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Braga, Anthony A., and Brenda J. Bond. 2008. “Policing Crime and Disorder Hot Spots: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Criminology 46(3):577–607.
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Related Practices

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Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated practices that are related to this program:

Hot Spots Policing
Used by many U.S. police departments, hot spots policing strategies focus on small geographic areas or places, usually in urban settings, where crime is concentrated.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
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Program Snapshot

Gender: Both

Geography: Urban

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting, High Crime Neighborhoods/Hot Spots

Program Type: Community and Problem Oriented Policing, Community Crime Prevention , Situational Crime Prevention, Violence Prevention, Hot Spots Policing, General deterrence

Targeted Population: Serious/Violent Offender

Current Program Status: Not Active