Effectiveness of Risk Terrain Modeling for Allocating Police Resources

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is working with a research team from Rutgers University and John Jay College of Criminal Justice to develop an in-depth understanding of how police enforcement tactics interact with contextual risk factors to affect crime in micro-areas across New York City.

Even with the NYPD’s record of success fighting crime using hot spot policing and identifying prolific offenders, there is a gap in the understanding of why persistent hot spots exist and where specific enforcement tactics would be most successful. Especially important is the ability not only to forecast where certain crimes are most likely to occur, but also to model how those future hot spots will react to different police tactics and choose the most cost-effective approach to enforcement.

The research team will carry out a multilevel study investigating risk terrain modeling across New York City and how various combinations of risk factors exacerbate or mitigate the risk of a future shooting, robbery or felony assault. The team then will focus on understanding the interrelation of risk factors, police enforcement tactics and crime trends to identify which police tactics work best for certain crimes in particular types of areas, as defined by their risk terrain. Next, the team will develop a model that uses risk terrain information to forecast the identified crime types and how the crime trends would respond to the application of different police tactics. Finally, the team will test forecasts in real time.

Because of the number of locations available across New York City and the different enforcement tactics employed, the team will use a quasi-experimental design with existing data to examine the differences in outcomes across sites. The researchers hypothesize that crime types supported by similar risk terrain profiles will respond similarly to the same type of enforcement tactics.

See grant details for "Policing by Place: A Proposed Multi-Level Analysis of the Effectiveness of Risk Terrain Modeling for Allocating Police Resources," New York City Police Department, NIJ grant 2013-IJ-CX-0053.

Date Created: June 9, 2014