Policing: Crime Reduction - The John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety

Policing: Crime Reduction

Focused Deterrence Initiatives: A Synopsis

Heidi S. Bonner, Robert E. Worden, and Sarah J. McLean (October, 2008)


Focused deterrence – also known as “lever-pulling” – is a matter of enhancing the threat of criminal sanctions for the highest-risk offenders and deliberately communicating that threat in order to maximize its impact on offenders’ behavior. Research has repeatedly shown that a small number of offenders account for a disproportionately large volume of violent crime. Further, violence is often concentrated in specific neighborhoods. By focusing amplified enforcement efforts – pulling all of the available levers – on the individuals most likely to commit violent crimes (in the neighborhoods in which they are most active), and thereby increasing the threatened likelihood of their apprehension and/or the severity of the sanctions applied, law enforcement and other community actors can expect to deter criminal acts. It might also be possible to disrupt or reverse patterns of peer influence that draw youth into violence. A number of communities have implemented focused deterrence initiatives, and some of these interventions have been demonstrably effective in reducing levels of youth violence.

Tactical Patrol: A Synopsis

Robert E. Worden and Sarah J. McLean (October, 2008)


Tactical patrol entails an increase in enforcement resources and activity, for a finite period of time, with a geographic focus – that is, targeting “hot spots” of crime – and (typically) an offense focus. Sometimes called directed patrol and sometimes called a police crackdown, interventions based on one or another variation of this theme have enjoyed demonstrable effectiveness.

Deterring Gun Violence: Gun Interdiction Patrols

Coming soon.

Operation Safe Corridor: An Outcome Evaluation

Sarah J. McLean, Robert E. Worden, MoonSun Kim, Tara L. Garmley, and Heidi S. Bonner
Operation Safe Corridor: An Outcome Evaluation
Criminal Justice Policy Review first published on May 11, 2010 as doi:10.1177/0887403410367679


Exposure to crime occurs when an individual’s activities place them in vulnerable situations. A collaborative problem-solving approach to address student victimization in one area of the City of Ashton resulted in the development of a safe passageway initiative, Operation Safe Corridor (OSC). OSC applies the logic of crime and place research by focusing efforts that seek to modify behavior and reduce opportunities for criminal behavior in the corridor. Despite concentrated deployment of resources in a relatively small area, OSC has not had the expected impact on student victimization. While OSC was introduced as a measure whose primary focus was to combat personal crimes, particularly street robberies, the intervention appears more successful with respect to property crime. Thus, despite efforts to raise awareness regarding personal safety, college-aged individuals are still making themselves vulnerable as targets and OSC seems instead to have had an effect on would-be offenders. The program appears to have been successful at hardening a location (the corridor) but was not successful in modifying victim behavior.