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  • Author or Editor: Laura Huey x
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Crime research has grown substantially over the past decade, with a rise in evidence-informed approaches to criminal justice, statistics-driven decision-making and predictive analytics. The fuel that has driven this growth is data – and one of its most pressing challenges is the lack of research on the use and interpretation of data sources.

This accessible, engaging book closes that gap for researchers, practitioners and students. International researchers and crime analysts discuss the strengths, perils and opportunities of the data sources and tools now available and their best use in informing sound public policy and criminal justice practice.

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With the rise of evidence-informed approaches to criminal justice, new models of data-driven decision making and the emergence of predictive analytics and other new tools for understanding and employing crime data, the field of crime research has grown substantially over the past decade. The fuel that drives that growth is data. In this edited collection, we present a comprehensive volume of chapters from some of the leading crime scientists from around the world. Researchers, crime analysts and others working with crime data from across four continents and seven countries provide rich discussions of some of the strengths, perils and opportunities provided by the range of data sources, tools, techniques and topics now available. Aimed at a diverse audience – including students, academic researchers, police practitioners, crime analysts and public policy makers – our goal in this book is to make crime data and analysis accessible and interesting. This book will thus appeal to readers who are interested in learning more about the varieties of data types and sources that can and is informing contemporary criminal justice research.

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This chapter first sets out the book’s structure, content and purpose, namely to provide researchers, students and practitioners with the latest state-of-the-art knowledge of the range of crime data sources, tools, techniques and topics now available. The book is divided into four parts: Part 1, titled ‘Crime Data Sources’, comprises seven chapters that examine the strengths and limitations of conventional sources of crime data as well as other types of public data can be used to provide insights into both crime and the criminal justice system. Part 2, ‘Using Crime and Criminal Justice Data’, explores quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methodological approaches to working with a diverse array of data types to shed light on public safety issues and on various criminal justice responses. Part 3, ‘Crime Data in Theory, Policy and Practice’, explores conceptual and theoretical issues related to crime data and its use to build and test theories of crime and deviance, and for everyday policy making and crime-prevention practice. Finally, Part 4, ‘Comparing, Contrasting and Combining Crime Data’, provides opportunities for readers to learn more about the possibilities that can arise through comparing, contrasting and/or combining different forms of data to improve our understanding of crime phenomena.

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With the rise of evidence-informed approaches to criminal justice, new models of data-driven decision making and the emergence of predictive analytics and other new tools for understanding and employing crime data, the field of crime research has grown substantially over the past decade. The fuel that drives that growth is data. In this edited collection, we present a comprehensive volume of chapters from some of the leading crime scientists from around the world. Researchers, crime analysts and others working with crime data from across four continents and seven countries provide rich discussions of some of the strengths, perils and opportunities provided by the range of data sources, tools, techniques and topics now available. Aimed at a diverse audience – including students, academic researchers, police practitioners, crime analysts and public policy makers – our goal in this book is to make crime data and analysis accessible and interesting. This book will thus appeal to readers who are interested in learning more about the varieties of data types and sources that can and is informing contemporary criminal justice research.

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With the rise of evidence-informed approaches to criminal justice, new models of data-driven decision making and the emergence of predictive analytics and other new tools for understanding and employing crime data, the field of crime research has grown substantially over the past decade. The fuel that drives that growth is data. In this edited collection, we present a comprehensive volume of chapters from some of the leading crime scientists from around the world. Researchers, crime analysts and others working with crime data from across four continents and seven countries provide rich discussions of some of the strengths, perils and opportunities provided by the range of data sources, tools, techniques and topics now available. Aimed at a diverse audience – including students, academic researchers, police practitioners, crime analysts and public policy makers – our goal in this book is to make crime data and analysis accessible and interesting. This book will thus appeal to readers who are interested in learning more about the varieties of data types and sources that can and is informing contemporary criminal justice research.

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With the rise of evidence-informed approaches to criminal justice, new models of data-driven decision making and the emergence of predictive analytics and other new tools for understanding and employing crime data, the field of crime research has grown substantially over the past decade. The fuel that drives that growth is data. In this edited collection, we present a comprehensive volume of chapters from some of the leading crime scientists from around the world. Researchers, crime analysts and others working with crime data from across four continents and seven countries provide rich discussions of some of the strengths, perils and opportunities provided by the range of data sources, tools, techniques and topics now available. Aimed at a diverse audience – including students, academic researchers, police practitioners, crime analysts and public policy makers – our goal in this book is to make crime data and analysis accessible and interesting. This book will thus appeal to readers who are interested in learning more about the varieties of data types and sources that can and is informing contemporary criminal justice research.

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A How-to Guide for Police Organizations

When it comes to adopting evidence-based approaches, does the size of an organization really matter?

This practical guide brings leading police and sociology experts together to demonstrate how police forces of all sizes can successfully embed evidence-based methods by using their strengths and limitations to their advantage. Drawing on experiences of policing in North America, it proposes new ways of strategizing and harnessing the talents of ‘change champions’.

Building on the authors’ widely adopted first book on evidence-based policing, this is essential reading for practitioners, aspiring leaders, students and policy-makers.

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The entire premise of evidence-based policing (EBP), with its emphasis on ‘what works’, should, in theory, be of immense appeal to police services. After all, we have a sizeable body of research that shows how programs and strategies based on sound research can contribute significantly to police effectiveness and efficiency (Lum, 2009). For example, proactive strategies such as CompStat (Computerized Statistics), problem-oriented policing (POP), intelligence-led policing (ILP) (Ratcliffe, 2008), and hotspots policing (Sherman and Weisburd, 1995) have been found to be more effective compared to random and reactive models. Research by Braga and Weisburd (2010) shows that an evidence-based approach was effective in reducing crime when adopted by police services in the USA by helping officers to focus on areas with a greater incidence of crime. And yet, despite such research, uptake of EBP by police organizations has generally been rather slow (Lum et al, 2012). Why is that? In this chapter, we take an organizational perspective, looking first at factors that affect police receptiveness to EBP, and then later identifying factors that affect resistance. Our goal: to help both police practitioners and their services move beyond various institutional obstacles and stumbling blocks.

Evidence-based practices are expected to help police organizations enhance their knowledge base, effectiveness, and economic efficiency (Bierly et al, 2009). One would assume that given the noted benefits of EBP, there would be abundant research identifying factors that help foster receptivity and reduce resistance to these practices. Surprisingly, such studies are few and far between, and a majority of them do not provide a clear idea about the impact of organizational context on embedding EBP in police organizations.

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Prior to the 1990s, policing across the West was largely conducted through what is known as the ‘standard model’ of policing (Sherman, 2013). This model, also known as the ‘3Rs’, was a ‘one-size-fits-all’ reactive approach that placed heavy emphasis on random patrols, rapid responses to calls for service, and reactive investigations, along with intensive enforcement in the form of police crackdowns and/or saturation policing (Weisburd and Eck, 2004; Sherman, 2013). Despite the apparent popularity of such approaches within policing and political circles, widespread crime rate increases throughout the 1970s and 1980s led some to question the ability of the police to reduce and prevent crime (Bayley, 1994).

Growing doubt about the effectiveness of current policing styles, coupled with a growing body of evidence showing that practices under the standard model had little-to-no impact on crime (Skogan and Frydl, 2004), led to a period of significant innovation within policing. While the standard model was not replaced entirely, new policing processes and philosophies were developed and implemented. These innovations included not only evidence-based policing (EBP), but also problem-oriented policing (POP), community-oriented policing (COP), CompStat (Computerized Statistics) and intelligence-led policing (ILP).

One of the questions we are not infrequently asked is, ‘What is the difference between EBP and POP?’ Another is ‘Does EBP replace COP?’ Given the extent to which there is some overlap among these philosophies, and thus some natural confusion about whether they compete or complement one another, we thought it would be helpful to highlight some of the main characteristics and differences, focusing primarily on how each of these philosophies can be made compatible with an EBP approach.

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Although we recognize that ‘research methods’ is often the least favourite topic for many people, successfully engaging with the ‘triple-T’ strategy – particularly as it relates to the testing component – requires a degree of knowledge on research methods and research design. In recognizing that engaging in research is not something that many police practitioners do as part of their regular duties, the purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of research fundamentals.

To begin, this chapter will provide a broad overview of both quantitative and qualitative methods. While doing so, practical police-related examples will be provided to articulate how some of the elements discussed throughout can be employed in practice to answer research questions that may be pertinent within a policing context. Before wrapping up, we will also discuss two important components that are used to understand the body and quality of research: evidence hierarchies and evidence syntheses. As will be outlined later on, evidence hierarchies and syntheses not only help us in determining whether a particular police practice, policy, or strategy is evidence-based or not, but they also remind us to be cautious about what we consider as ‘evidence’.

A note of caution: what this chapter will not do is explain how to employ what is discussed. Doing so would require significant elaboration on research-related components that simply cannot be described in full within a single chapter. Therefore, this chapter should be considered as a preliminary ‘starting point’ for basic information related to quantitative and qualitative methods.

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