Police and Evidence-based Policing

2 February 2017

Evidence-Based-Policing Written by Desiree Rosch Instructor Atthur Moghalu Introduction to Criminal Justice Evidence-based policing is a style of policing that uses research to create or change policies to increase effectiveness. Lawrence W Sherman, an academic criminologist, is credited with making the term Evidence-based Policing (EBP) popular. During a lecture Sherman stated, “Police practices should be based on scientific evidence about what works best. “Starting in the 1960s several organizations were formed to conduct studies on how to better prevent crime and increase the public’s confidence in law enforcement.The first of which was the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration created by Congress in 1969.

There are many benefits to using an evidence-based policing stance, such as being able to see the actual results of your policies. This enables an agency to make necessary changes to the way they operate inorder to accomplish their missions more effectively, such as changing where and when units patrol certain areas. It also allows them to come up with completely new programs and procedures they may not have developed on their own.The disadvantage of using research to change the way a law enforcement agency operates is that those changes may be expensive to implement. The agency may even find that the way they approach a situation could be completely wrong according to the research. Another problem with an evidence-based policing system is that the results may be accurate for where the study took place, but may not reflect the samedata you would obtain in another area. Things like income, education levels, backgrounds, cultures, etc can influence the effectiveness of procedures based on studies in another location.

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The Kansas City Experiment in 1974 is the most well known example of studies done on law enforcement. The results of this study were not what researchers were expecting. The agency found that increased patrol units had no effect on either crimes committed or the public’s perception of how safe they were. These findings changed the way many agencies allot their patrol units. Another study conducted in Redlands, California was on the procedure of sending a follow up unit to make contact with a domestic violence victim after the initial call.

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