Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Police Badge

Site LE Agency
Philadelphia Police Department

Site Researcher
Jerry Ratcliffe, Temple University, Department of Criminal Justice

Site Focus
Violent Crime

SPI Strategy
Foot patrol, Problem-solving, Offender-focused policing

Site Cohort

Site Profile
Large urban area of 134.10 sq. miles with a population of 1,547,605

Project Overview

The Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) and researchers from Temple University’s Department of Criminal Justice set out to test the effectiveness of several violence reduction policing strategies, including foot patrol, problem-solving, and an offender-focused strategy. They sought to better understand the impacts of these strategies, and identify where and when they were most effective as violence reduction tactics. The Philadelphia SPI team examined the city’s 2009 incident database. Using advanced spatial analysis, they identified 81 mutually exclusive violent crime hot spots. These hotspots were divided into three groups of 27 hot spots each to test the effectiveness of foot patrol, problem-oriented policing, and offender-focused strategy using 20 treatment and 7 control spots within each site. This method allowed officers to achieve significant crime reductions while avoiding negative community perceptions of their actions.

Data Highlight

  • PPD identified three groups of 27 hot spots each in order to implement and evaluate the following policing strategies:
    • Foot patrol
    • Problem-oriented policing
    • Offender-focused strategy
  • Hotspots receiving offender-focused strategies experienced a 22 percent decrease in violent crime and a 31 percent decrease in violent street felonies.
  • There were no significant crime declines in areas receiving foot patrol or problem-oriented policing treatment.