Evidence-based policing in Serbia: Evaluating deterrent effects of foot patrol in one hot spot of crime


  • Dusan Stankovic PhD candidate University of Malmo


Crime mapping, Hot spot policing, Foot patrols, Crime Prevention, Evaluation


Purpose: This research evaluates the effects of police foot patrols in one crime hotspot of incidents recorded by the police. It promotes evidence-based policing and contributes to the knowledge of hot spot policing.

Design/Methods/Approach: The study applies a quasi-experimental method using data on shift-length foot patrols and recorded incidents within one police station in one of the major Serbian cities. The police previously recognised the area as a permanent hot spot for crimes and calls for service. This has been confirmed in the crime analysis on the police station level, using clusters of events on the map. Statistical tests have been applied to evaluate the effects of police foot patrol on the number of all incidents, violence and public order, and property-related incidents: during the presence of a patrol officer, during the time when there has not been a foot patrol, during the same day when foot patrol has been conducted, during the day without foot patrol, during the usual time of foot patrol (7 AM to 3 PM) in foot patrol and non-foot patrol days, and during the unusual time of foot patrol (3 PM to 7 AM) in foot patrol and non-foot patrol days.

Findings: Although reductions in incidents, on almost all levels, have been observed during the presence of foot patrols and during the days when foot patrols have been conducted, results are statistically non-significant.

Originality/Value: This study suggests that hot spot policing prevents crime and disorder, but further studies should be conducted to create stronger evidence about hot spot policing in the region. The study calls for an evidence-based approach in policing by developing a suitable methodology for police managers when evaluating foot patrols, hot spot policing and perhaps some other crime prevention strategies.



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