Finn Institute Reports and Presentations
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.
CeaseFire-Chicago: A Synopsis
Heidi S. Bonner, Sarah J. McLean, and Robert E. Worden (October, 2008)
Updated Synopsis Coming Soon
The term “Ceasefire” is widely associated with Boston’s “Operation Ceasefire,” which was a focused deterrence initiative conceived and implemented in 1996, and replicated (with some variations) in a number of other cities since then. Focused deterrence initiatives target high-risk offenders for enhanced enforcement, and notify the offenders that continued violence will evoke extraordinary enforcement actions, in order to more effectively deter the violence in which the targeted offenders are prone to engage. However, a number of other violence-reduction programs go by the name “Ceasefire,” and they are not focused deterrence initiatives. One of those, implemented by the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention (CPVP), differs from the Boston model in a number of respects, but it too has been favorably evaluated. We briefly describe the philosophy and theory behind CeaseFire-Chicago, describe the program components, and discuss the findings on its effectiveness.
Hospital-Based Violence Prevention Programs: A Synopsis
Robert E. Worden and Sarah J. McLean (October, 2008)
Some violence prevention programs provide for interventions with victims of violence that commence at the point of their hospitalization. We might call these programs hospital-based, inasmuch as the hospital is the site at which would-be participants are identified and at which the intervention is initiated, even though many of the services that are provided are not delivered by or within the hospital. Research shows that patients admitted with intentionally inflicted injuries are at elevated risk of repeat violence, and one might speculate that they are also at elevated risk of perpetrating violence, in retaliation or more generally, and that in the immediate aftermath of a violent injury, victims would be especially receptive to behavioral change. Some programs that target this population for intervention have been effective in reducing their risk.
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.
Public Surveillance Cameras: A Synopsis
Truancy Reduction: A Synopsis
Compstat: A Synopsis
Citizen Oversight of the Ashton Police
Robert E. Worden
Created by legislation that was effective in October, 2000, the Ashton Citizens’ Police Review Board (CPRB) became operational in May of 2001, after its members had undergone mandated training, and after its by-laws had been approved by the Ashton Common Council. The same legislation that created the CPRB called for “…one or more local colleges, universities or research institutions to conduct surveys of complainants concerning the level of their satisfaction with the process and to conduct surveys of the community to get feedback concerning the CPRB and the Police Department. The results of those surveys shall be reported to the CPRB, the Chief and the Common Council.” This report is the third annual report of the findings of the mandated research, whose purpose was to contribute to informed decisions about the structure and process of citizen involvement in complaint review in Ashton. Little is known about the effectiveness of complaint review systems, and about the relative success of differently structured systems in achieving social objectives; moreover, the objectives may not be mutually compatible, and thus even definitive empirical findings would not suffice to resolve the issues. In collecting and analyzing systematic data about the processes and outcomes of complaint review in Albany, research findings may form a better basis for sound judgments about the performance of the complaint review system in Ashton, and about what-if any-steps are needed to improve the system. Other cities might also learn from this experience.
Citizen Oversight of the Police: A Critical Review
Robert E. Worden
Weston’s Video Surveillance Project: An Outcome Evaluation
Sarah J. McLean, Robert E. Worden, MoonSun Kim, and Tara L. Garmley (June, 2008)
This report presents findings from an outcome evaluation of one city’s video surveillance project. The study analyzed the impact of the introduction of cameras on crime and disorder within 150 foot and 350 foot intervention coverage areas. We compare pre- and post-intervention estimates in the coverage areas as well as assess intervention area trends against citywide trends in crime and disorder at comparable times. We find that the cameras do have an effect on crime and appear particularly successful at reducing disorder.
Compstat in the Granger Police Department: A First-Year Appraisal
Robert E. Worden and Sarah J. McLean (April, 2008)
The Granger Police Department adopted Compstat in 2006, after preparatory work that began in 2005. In contrast with the NYPD, a bureaucracy of gargantuan proportions, and New York City, a city of more than seven million people, the Granger PD – like the more typical American police agency – is a small enough organization that its employees can all be acquainted with one another, serving a city that is smaller in population than one of NYPD’s precincts. We would not expect that the details of Compstat operation would be the same in GPD as in NYPD, but rather that Compstat would be adapted to GPD’s organizational structure and environment. Compstat, however, does not come with a user’s guide, complete with directions on how it can be adjusted while remaining faithful to the principles that made it successful in NYPD. When Compstat was introduced in Granger, it was with the expectation that it would evolve as everyone became more accustomed to the process, as the capacity for analysis expanded, and as the process was modified based on experience. The purpose of this report is to contribute to that evolution. With approximately one year of experience with Compstat, we sought to take stock of how it is working, and how it can be altered to work better.
An Evaluation of RICO Prosecutions against Gangs
Robert E. Worden, Sarah J. McLean, MoonSun Kim, and Heidi S. Bonner (November, 2007)
Deterring Gun Violence: Gun Interdiction Patrols
Robert E. Worden, Sarah J. McLean, and MoonSun Kim
Operation Safe Corridor: An Outcome Evaluation
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.
Stops by Syracuse Police, 2006-2009
Robert E. Worden, Sarah J. McLean, and Andrew P. Wheeler (June, 2010)
The City of Syracuse (NY) adopted legislation in 2001 mandating data collection on stops by police. The Institute analyzed data on stops by Syracuse police between 2006 and 2009. Applying the “veil-of-darkness” method devised by researchers at the RAND Corporation, our found hardly any evidence of racial bias in vehicle stops. We conclude that further data collection and analysis is warranted, to demonstrate the SPD’s responsiveness to public concerns, but more importantly, steps that address the perceptions of profiling, and that may improve police-community relations, could also be taken.
Stops by Syracuse Police
Presentation to the Syracuse Common Council Public Safety Committee
November 15, 2010