Cody W. Telep, David Weisburd

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


While just a decade ago, there were almost no systematic reviews on policing, we now have 17 completed systematic reviews of police practices. We examined these reviews to assess what we have learned, questions that remain unanswered, and how we can best move forward. Our findings suggest the effectiveness of a number of policing strategies for addressing crime including hot spots policing, problem-oriented policing, community problem-solving to address disorder, directed patrol to reduce gun violence, focused deterrence approaches, and using DNA in investigations. Additionally, there is little evidence that focused policing approaches displace crime to areas nearby. This is a very different portrait of the effectiveness of policing than even as recently as the early 1990s, when it was widely believed that the police were ineffective crime fighters. Information-gathering interrogation methods seem promising for reducing false confessions, and programs to increase procedural justice show promise for increasing citizen satisfaction, compliance, and perceptions of police legitimacy. Community policing programs have an overall impact on improving citizen satisfaction and perceptions of legitimacy. In contrast, certain programs show less effective results, including second responder programs, Drug Abuse Resistance Education, and police stress management programs. While the existing reviews have been beneficial in advancing policing knowledge, they are not without limitations. The major shortcoming in many reviews is a lack of rigorous eligible studies, particularly a lack of randomized experiments. Additionally, heterogeneity in treatments and outcome measures within reviews makes it difficult to draw strong conclusions from mean effects in meta-analyses. A lack of descriptive validity can also make effect size calculation challenging. Moving forward, we suggest a focus on balancing research generation and research synthesis to ensure that there are high-quality reviews with a sufficient number of rigorous studies.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationWhat works in crime prevention and rehabilitation
Subtitle of host publicationlessons from systematic reviews
EditorsDavid Weisburd, David P. Farrington, Charlotte Gill
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)978-1-4939-3477-5
StatePublished - 2016


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