Indianapolis Directed Patrol Project

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During a 90-day period beginning in July 1997, the Indianapolis Police

Department (IPD) implemented a police strategy similar to the Kansas City

program (McGarrell et al., 2001). The Indianapolis program tested the

effects of two types of directed patrol strategies on firearm-related crime. In

the north district, the IPD pursued a directed patrol strategy that sought to

prevent firearm-related violence by focusing on suspicious activities and

locations. In the east district, the IPD pursued a general deterrence strategy

that attempted to prevent firearm-related violence by maximizing the number

of vehicle stops in the targeted area. In contrast to the Kansas City

study, police activities were not guided by computer analyses of hot-spot

locations in either of the targeted areas. Finally, IPD officials worked closely

before and during the intervention to secure community support and address

concerns (McGarrell et al., 2001). IPD officers were trained to treat

citizens with respect and to explain the reasons for the stop.

The evaluation used a pre-post design to determine the effects of the

two strategies on firearm-related crime. Both target areas were compared

with the same comparison district as well as to citywide crime trends.

During the 90-day intervention period, the number of firearms seized in the

east district increased by 50 percent, while the north district experienced a

modest 8 percent increase (McGarrell et al., 2001). The number of firearms

seized in the comparison area decreased by 40 percent. The evaluation

revealed that there were statistically significant decreases in firearm-related

crime, homicide, aggravated assault with a firearm, and armed robbery in

the north district. No statistically significant changes in firearm-related

crime were noted in the east district. The evaluation did not reveal any

4Sherman and Rogan (1995) estimated that there were at least 100,000 handguns in Kansas


evidence of immediate spatial displacement of firearm-related crime or significant

diffusion of crime control benefits into surrounding areas. It is also

noteworthy that not a single citizen complaint was tied to the directed

patrol study (McGarrell et al., 2001).

Police Gun Suppression Patrols in Pittsburgh

Over a 14-week period beginning in July 1998, the Pittsburgh Police

Department focused on suppressing illegal guns on city streets through the

implementation of a special Gun Suppression Patrol program (Cohen and

Ludwig, 2003). Two patrol teams of four officers each were assigned to

separate police zones experiencing high rates of illegal gun activity. With

the aid of crime maps and activity reports on recent shots fired, the patrol

teams focused on high-risk times and high-risk places in targeted areas. The

patrol teams initiated citizen contacts through traffic stops and “stop and

talk” activities with persons on foot. These contacts were used as an opportunity

to solicit information and investigate suspicious activities associated

with illegal carrying and use of guns. When warranted for officer safety

reasons (usually suspicious actions or demeanor), pat-downs for weapons

were conducted; when there was reasonable suspicion of criminal activity

and an arrest made, these searches sometimes escalated to more thorough

checks (Cohen and Ludwig, 2003).

The impact evaluation of the Pittsburgh program used a repeateddifferences

model. Shots-fired calls for service and firearm-related injuries

in the two treatment zones were compared with those in the remaining four

police zones in Pittsburgh. The 6-week period between June 7 and July 18,

1998, served as the pre-period, and the 14 weeks between July 19 and

October 24 were the post-period. The evaluation found that shots-fired

calls for service from residents were reduced by more than 50 percent in one

target area, and gunshot injuries were down by nearly 70 percent in the

other target area, representing a reduction of 2.5 gunshot injuries weekly in

the latter target area (Cohen and Ludwig, 2003).