The Effects of Problem-Oriented Policing on Crime and Disorder: A Systematic Review
Crime and Justice
We conducted a systematic review to examine the effectiveness of problem-oriented policing (POP) in reducing crime and disorder. Eligible studies had to meet three criteria: (1) the SARA model was used; (2) a comparison group was included; (3) at least one crime or disorder outcome was reported. Units of analysis could be places or people. After an exhaustive search strategy that identified over 5500 articles and reports, we found only 10 studies that met our inclusion criteria. This result is particularly surprising given the strong support that has been voiced for POP by both scholars and practitioners. Using meta-analytic techniques, we find an overall modest but statistically significant impact of POP on crime and disorder. We also report on our analysis of pre/post comparison studies. While these studies are less methodologically rigorous, they are more numerous, and our search identified 45 studies that met our other criteria, but did not have a comparison group. Results of these studies indicate an overwhelmingly positive impact of POP. Overall, our results suggest problem-oriented policing has a modest impact on reducing crime and disorder, but we urge caution in interpreting these findings, because of the small number of eligible studies we located and the diverse group of problems and response these studies included.