Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

POP Center Responses Focused Deterrence Page 3

The Phases and Core Elements of Focused Deterrence                                           

There are five general phases in most FDIs: (1) Program Planning and Implementation; (2) High-Risk Offender Selection; (3) High-Risk Offender Notification; (4) Enforcement/Service Delivery; and (5) Follow-Up Communication.13 The National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College has produced a series of practice briefs and implementation guides providing detailed recommendations for the various aspects of planning and executing an FDI. See for access to the briefs and guides. An additional phase—(6) Assessment—is also strongly recommended to gauge the initiative’s fairness and effectiveness and to adapt the initiative accordingly. Figure 1 summarizes objectives for each phase, followed by descriptions of each phase’s core elements.

Figure 1. Phases and Core Elements of a Focused-Deterrence Initiative


Planning and Implimentation

  • Engage the community
  • Engage police personnel
  • Engage external partners to secure support and resource commitments
  • Establish clear program goals and objectives
  • Establish administrative infrastructure


High-Risk Individual Selection

  • Develop and test a high-risk offender-selection methodology
  • Identify high-risk offender candidates
  • Select high-risk offenders


High-Risk Individual Notification

  • Build rapport with high-risk individuals’ families, friends, and supporters
  • Invite high-risk offenders to the notification
  • Conduct the notification meeting


Enforcement/Service Delivery

  • Carry out enforcement and prosecution for high-risk offenders who refuse to desist from offending
  • Provide services to high-risk offenders who desist from offending and request assistance


Follow-Up Communication

  • Inform high-risk offenders and their criminal associates of consequences (positive or negative) that follow from compliance or noncompliance and why
  • Keep FDI partners informed about actions taken to penalize or assist high-risk offenders
  • Inform the general public about FDI principles and major actions and outcomes



  • Determine whether the FDI is being implemented as designed or intended
  • Determine whether the FDI is having the desired impact of reducing targeted crimes
  • Determine whether the FDI is perceived as fair