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 https://nnscommunities.org/our-work/guides/ 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