Understanding and Responding to Crime and Disorder Hot Spots
Publication Date: November 2019
Hot spots are very small areas (e.g., addresses, single street blocks, small groups of street blocks) with high levels of crime, disorder, accidental injury, or any other matter requiring police attention. This guide focuses on understanding, identifying, analyzing, and responding to hot spots. Hot spots represent an important focus for police agencies because a small number of high-activity locations typically account for much of a jurisdiction’s crime and disorder problems. After briefly reviewing what is known about the geographic distribution of police incidents and the reasons they are highly concentrated, the guide turns to identifying hot spots. This serves as an introduction to the hot spot identification process and is not intended as a detailed, technical discussion of the use of software for mapping and defining hot spots. The guide then analyzes hot spots to understand why incidents are concentrated at particular places. Finally, the guide provides a detailed summary of strategies commonly used by police to respond to hot spots and reviews their effectiveness. There is convincing evidence that hot spot policing strategies effectively reduce policing problems.