Simulating Police Outcomes: A Framework for Understanding Policing Strategies

John Eck
University of Cincinnati

This presentation outlines a set of approaches to simulating police activity that are consistent with the scientific evidence regarding police effectiveness at reducing crime. Drawing on the findings of the National Research Council’s report “Fairness and Effectiveness in Policing: The Evidence” I distinguish among four policing strategies. There is a common simulation framework for all strategies that involves: a) modeling the crime pattern first, b) modeling errors in reporting crime, and c) focusing on the impact of policing on crime. Each strategy, however, requires a different variation in this basic framework (community policing is not discussed for reasons described). With standard policing, police officers can be considered independent agents that respond to reported crime. With focused policing, the simulation must incorporate a crime analysis function that coordinates individual police agents. Simulations of problem-oriented policing may need a recursive structure, wherein the overall simulation contains a problem analysis simulation that attempts to model the crime patterns. Throughout the presentation I discuss some of the hazards that have tripped other researchers from outside the mainstream of criminology and criminal justice and I suggest ways to avoid these hazards.

Audio (MP3 File, Podcast Ready) Presentation (PowerPoint File)

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