Free Impact of Police Initiatives, Technologies and Reforms on Handling Crime and Disorder Essay Sample

The paper is focused on the summary of 4 article regarding police issues and critical overview of the statistical analyses provided in these articles. The reviewed articles are dedicated to estimation of effectiveness of the police efforts in fighting crimes and disorder. In particular, they provide a statistical analysis of consequences of the polices activity in hot spots, efficiency of the license plate readers (LPRs) implementation for reducing the automobile crimes in hot spots, issues related to crimes relocation, and the outcomes of reforms directed to the police stations services improvement, increase of public confidence and reduction of crime. Each of the statistical analyses provided in the reviewed articles has its strengths, as well as limitations. In general, their strengths include effective ways of the powerful statistical analysis, while the limitations involve lack of the data being analyzed or an application of imperfect measure methods that lead to weaker results.

 
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Introduction

The effectiveness of police interventions focused only on small locations with high crime levels, called the hot spots, causes much concern in society. Many critical suggestions are expressed regarding the potential for increased police activity and presence in the small zones to have drawbacks for people living in these areas. For instance, the critiques argue that while combating the crimes, the police can increase a fear of crime among residents of the hot spots. Meanwhile, this research will investigate 4 studies which show statistically significant data confirming that the police can manage the disorder and crime through focusing on high-crime places with no much negative effects to the communities. In particular, the paper is focused on the critical analysis provided in these studies. The statistical part of these articles helps to realize an efficacy of the results with a high level of statistical power in terms of making the strong conclusions, while its most common limitations derive from the need for further research to support the obtained results.

Research of the Possible Backfire Effects of Hot Spots Policing

Main Findings of the Article

Weisburd et al. researched the impact of the broken windows policing on the fear of crime amid the hot spots residents, as well as on their collective efficacy reports and estimations of the police legitimacy. A block randomized experimental design method applied in the study implicated the additional police intervention, which was aimed at the reduction of physical and social disorder in the 55 street segments. The results were measured based on the panel survey of 371 people leaving or working in these sites. The findings showed that the police intervention provided specifically in the areas with high crime levels did not have any statistically significant influence on the crime perceptions, social disorder, fear of crime, police legitimacy, and collective efficacy although the perceptions of a physical disorder were changed in the studied areas. Hence, the findings show that the critical responses towards the policing approaches applied in the hot spots were overemphasized, which proves that people in the targeted areas are not over-affected by the increased police interventions. Meanwhile, the further research has to replicate these results by focusing on various crime hot spots types and on the different target population, as well as by examining the various hot spots policing styles.

Statistical Analysis

To collect the research data, the telephone surveys were conducted among the business owners or managers working in the 55 street segments and people permanently living there. Moreover, the survey was developed basing on the panel design due to the authors focus on the individual changes of the fear of crime caused by the police interventions. The primary data were digitized, and reliability of each digital scale was tested with Cronbachs Alphas. All the scales had acceptable to high levels of reliability. Therefore, the final sample provided a statistically powerful test of the main hypotheses with a consideration of a two-tailed significance test and 0.5 level of significance. The final sample was analyzed using the ANOVA models.

Strengths. First, the power levels are quite high allowing the main programs effect identification. , Second, the statistical analysis was based on two surveys conducted in 2008 and in 2009, namely, on the pre-intervention and post-intervention surveys, which ensures the completeness of results. Third, a positive side is an inclusion of the demographic and social characteristics of the respondents of a telephone survey that helped to measure fully the police legitimacy, collective efficacy, perceived risk of victimization and fear of crime.

Limitations. Nevertheless, the statistical power of the study appeared insufficient to identify overall treatment effects, which is one of the weaknesses of the conducted analysis. Another weakness of this statistical analysis is that it does not assess the nature of police interventions and their intensity. Particularly, a zero tolerance towards the police was not measured, while if a purpose-built harassment was applied to the citizens, the results of the study could be different. The last weakness is that the results are based on the findings of a single study, which means that the statistical analysis is incomplete and the further research has to be done to examine if the obtained findings can be proved in other studies.

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Assessing the Effectiveness of the License Plate Reader (LPR) Police Patrols in Crime Hot Spots

Main Findings of the Article

In their research, Lum, Hibdon, Cave, Koper, and Merola decided to test if an implementation of the LPRs can reduce the crime in general and the automobile crime in particular within the crime hot spots. Thirty hot spots in two jurisdictions, 15 of them experiencing the experimental conditions, were involved in a place-based block randomized experiment. The experiment included implementing the targeted police patrols supplied with LPRs in the hot spots on a Koper Curve timing principle. The outcomes were examined in the postintervention survey lasted for thirty days, considering a jurisdiction, seasonal factors and pre-intervention crime levels. The results showed that in a case of the low quantity of the LPRs applied in hot spots just as authors tested them there, the LPRs did not generate any offense-specific or general deterrent effects. Therefore, this research did not provide great findings regarding the studied question, and some caveats and limitations have to be taken into the consideration. The authors suggested how the already gained LPRs can be applied in a way that the police interactions effectiveness in the crime hot spots was raised.

Statistical Analysis

To derive the hot spots for this research, the authors designed a two-step process that reflected both crime theories and principles in places just as a practical crime prevention concerns. The first step was a creation of the computer-generated hot spots, while on the second the hot spots were adjusted with the officers to become an environmentally meaningful. Estimating the intervention, distributions of the dependent variables were measured and the binomial generalized linear model was applied. Moreover, two models were applied in the study to account the relations of the number of detected crimes in the intervention period compared to the pre-intervention period and to account those relations considering the post-intervention period. Seasonal variations were incorporated in both models.

Strengths. The applied statistical approach considered the variables distribution. While the distribution of all crimes during the intervention period was normal, the situation with auto-related crimes distribution and the one for the auto theft/theft from auto was quite opposite, because those crimes were skewed within the most of the hot spots, which had zero to one crime incident. Hence, one of the strengths is that the authors considered these issues and chose a generalized linear model that was more useful than the linear regression, especially, when modeling the specific deterrence. Second, the authors used two models incorporating an amount of all crimes, particularly, the auto theft/theft from auto crimes, committed during the intervention, pre- and post-intervention periods, which helped to provide more evident results. Third, the fact that specific crimes model involved the exposure variable that indicated a number of days, to which a hot spot was exposed during the intervention, could be considered the strength.

Limitations. First, the statistical analysis was not designed to specifically measure the displacement of crime and diffusion of benefits, and this limitation is connected to the other one. Meaning, the negative issue in the statistical analysis was that it involved a small number of hot spots. Moreover, the adjacency between some hot spots did not allow the creation of the clearly separated and distinct hot spots locations having the non-overlapping zones to measure a displacement. The previously mentioned weakness led to another negative issue in a few available hot spots, particularly, to a low statistical power of the results.

Investigation of Spatial Displacement and Diffusion of Benefits among Geographically Focused Policing Initiatives

Main Findings of the Article

The paper by Bowers, Johnson, Guerette, Summers, and Poynton estimated an effect of the geographically focused policing initiatives, which was a displacement of crime or diffuse of benefits in terms of the overall reduction of crime. With this aim, the research papers on the topic were investigated and measured basing on their methodology and the collected results. Sixteen studies were selected, which used the meta-analysis, and two sets of the information on effects of the policing initiatives were detected. The findings showed that the results of those initiatives were related to great reductions in the disorder and crime while there was noticed a tendency toward the benefit diffusion. Therefore, the results gained in the study by Bowers et al. proved that the crime displacement is not a necessary outcome of the police efforts while, in the opposite, the policing initiatives cause a diffusion of the crime control benefits and, in general, have a reductive influence on crime. The authors noted that the previous meta-analyses of the place-based interventions, which analyzed the similar data, estimated the mean effect sizes and associated confidence intervals for each study by using the odds ratio calculations. In this study, the authors were more interested in assessing the changes observed in the catchment areas.

Statistical Analysis

The mean effect sizes and associated confidence intervals were estimated similarly to the analyzed 16 studies. Meanwhile, to concentrate on the changes observed in the catchment areas, the authors estimated the odds ratios of the data from each study for the catchment, as well as for the treatment areas. Variation in the policing initiative effects was estimated using the Q statistic, and to assess the weighted mean effect, the authors implemented the random effects model. For another thing, the authors estimated permutations of the best and worst scenarios of the policing initiative effects among the reviewed studies and used the Monte Carlo simulation to allocate 1000 of unique effect size estimates.

Strengths. Except computing the individual estimates of effect sizes for every study and area type, mean effect sizes were calculated across studies so that the general inference could be made, which is one of the strengths of this research. Therefore, basing on the concerns regarding the most reasonable approach, the authors decided to adopt the approach of multiplying a standard error by an inflation factor when calculating the confidence intervals. It is another strength of this statistical analysis because it led to larger confidence intervals and more conservative test. Another strength is that the authors managed the challenges related to the dependency of data by calculating the mean effect sizes for the detected possible permutations of the data and estimating the distribution of the calculated mean effect size throughout all the permutations.

Limitations. First, to estimate the confidence intervals for the odds ratios, the authors have used the same approach as in previous meta-analyses of the place-based interventions while there are many debates regarding its adequacy. Second, a measure of the effect size was not the odds ratio in its traditional sense. As their distinctions seem to be mostly semantic, the authors have used the term odds ratios but have acknowledged the issue: the adopted approach still has limitations. The other statistical weakness is the consideration of the physical areas aimed at assessing the benefits diffusion and crime displacement. The catchment areas used across the overviewed studies had essential variations, and almost none of the studies considered the issue of the directional displacement while considering the changes in a concentric rings around the treatment area.

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Estimation of the Impact of Police Reform on Communities of Trinidad and Tobago

Main Findings of the Article

In their article, Wilson, Parks, and Mastrofski were focused on the reforms provided at five selected police stations in Trinidad and Tobago. The main goal of the reforms was to improve the police stations services, increase the public confidence in the police and reduce the crime. The analyzed intervention included an improvement of the equipment, vehicles and police facilities, and enhancement of the stations supervision and management. It represented the approaches aimed at the problem solving and service orientation towards a replacement of the colonial and post-colonial policing models. The authors implemented a quasi-experimental comparison group design of the research, according to which, the results of every model station were compared to the results of the corresponding control station with consideration that each model and control stations pair a had similar level of crime in the targeted areas. Consequently, face-to-face surveys were conducted among the adults living in the areas of service of both the model and the control stations. For respondents identification, a probability sampling of households was used. In addition, there were two measurement waves, one was conducted before the intervention and one more was conducted one year after the intervention. The findings pattern is quite suggestive, but, at the same time, it is weak, so that the authors stated that the model stations reforms initiative had a positive impact.

Statistical Analysis

The sampling frame of the face-to-face surveys was designed so that some communities within a station district had higher sampling rates in comparison with other communities. The outcome analyses were grounded on the difference-in-differences analysis, which served in detecting the changes in the pre-test and post-test attitude of people living in the areas of service of the model and control stations. For scale variable, authors implemented the logistic regression by using the analysis of variance.

Strengths. The sample weights were developed to reflect an inverse of the probability of being sampled within the district. These weights were used in all statistical analyses to ensure that the responses reflected the perceptions of the district as the whole, and this is one of the strengths of this statistical analysis. Second, in addition to the marginal effects for measurement wave and treatment dummy, the authors included terms for the pairs that adjusted a fixed-effect of each pair. Third, in addition to the aggregate analyses, the authors provided a separate analysis for each model station and comparison pair that led to a more careful examination of the pattern of effects across pairs given that the reforms were implemented unevenly.

Limitations. First, the statistical analysis included a small number of cases related to specific instances experienced by the respondents, which led to the limited results. Second, the authors created a dichotomous indicator that was concentrated on a community outreach and policing for the people, and this program element was fully embraced in Chaguanas, but the stations in other areas were scored poorly. Third, a more powerful test with a broader range of measures, such as willingness to participate in co-productive activities, testify, and provide an information about a crime to the police, could have provided more clear results.

Conclusion

Overall, the critical analysis of the 4 articles dedicated to the policing issues shows that each of the articles has its own weakness and strengths. In particular, the statistical analysis presented in the first paper has a positive side that the research results have a great statistical power, while the limitation is that the conclusions are not completely supported. At the same time, the second article is a strong research with its positive sides, but the low statistical power of its results is a great weakness. Meanwhile, the third study involved a great statistical analysis as the authors managed to consider many critical issues, but still, it has some limitations, particularly, related to the catchment areas. To conclude, all of the reviewed articles have provided a strong statistical data analyses and their main positive side is a high statistical power while the need for further research to prove gained results is among the strongest limitations.

 

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