Do Police Go to Places with More Crime? A Spatial and Temporal Examination of Police Proactivity




Wu, Xiaoyun

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Over the last four decades, research has shown that police officers can reduce and prevent crime when they employ proactive, problem-solving, and place-based strategies. However, whether this research has translated into daily police activity is seldom examined. Are police being proactive when not answering calls for service? Do they target that proactivity in places that need it the most? Using calls for service data in a progressive police agency, the authors examine both the spatial and temporal relationship between proactive activity by officers and concentrations of crime using multiple methods, including Andresen’s Spatial Point Pattern Test. Results suggest that police in Jacksonville are highly proactive, place-based, and micro-scaled in allocating their resource. They spent a large proportion of their resources conducting proactive work in accordance with the spatial distribution of crime, and they specifically concentrated significant proactive resources in the most crime-ridden areas, making the relationship an increasing curvilinear one between police proactive work and crime at places. More specifically, each crime at a micro place is related to around 40 additional minutes of police proactive work there, the figure of which becomes even higher at places with high enough crime.



Police patrol, Police time utilization, Place-based policing, Police proactive work