• Center for Problem oriented policing


Term Definition Step #
3-D Mapping High-definition mapping that portrays locations within buildings 24
80-20 rule The principle that a few people or places are involved in a large proportion of events 18, 20, 22, 30, 31, 54
Acute hot spots Hot spots that suddenly appear, i.e., have not been present for a long time, not chronic (See Chronic hotspots and Chronic problems) 23
Acute temporal clustering A very high concentration of crime in a small part of 24-hour cycles 25
Acute troubles Transient sets of recurring events that might go away without engaging in problem solving activities, but could also evolve into chronic problems 14
Adaptation Long-term changes in offender population behaviors in response to crime prevention 11, 46
Analysis The second stage in the SARA process, involving systematic examination of the problem to identify possible causes that might be susceptible to responses 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 23, 32, 33, 35, 36, 38, 44, 46, 52, 54, 55, 58, 60
Anticipatory benefits Benefits from crime prevention that begin prior to initiation of crime prevention treatment 11, 46, 52
Anticipatory benefits, pseudo The appearance of anticipatory benefits caused by smoothing data (i.e., the use of a moving average) 52
Aoristic analysis A statistical method for determining the 24-hour rhythm of crimes when the exact time of crime commission is unknown 25
Assessment The fourth stage in the SARA process, involving evaluating the effectiveness of the response 1, 4, 7, 24, 37, 38, 46, 54, 55, 60
Attractors, Crime Areas of criminal opportunities well known to offenders 17, 28
Behaviors One of two criteria for classifying problems describing aspects of harm, intent, and offender-target relationships (see Environments) 15
Boost accounts An explanation for repeat victimization that suggests that the rewards to the offender for the first crime encourage the offender to repeat the offense against the same victim or to tell other offenders who then attack the same victim (see Flag accounts) 29
Broad-spectrum treatments Crime prevention measures that are effective against a wide variety of methods for committing a type of crime 49
Broken windows policing A proposed policing strategy based on the principles that small offenses add up to destroy community life and that small offenses encourage larger ones, consequently police should pay particular attention to disorders 5
Buffer zone Area around a place or area. Often an area around a facility, hot spot, or treatment area 16, 51
Case-control study A systematic comparison of troublesome persons, places, times, or events to untroublesome ones to find out the characteristics that might cause the problem. This type of study is particularly useful when troublesome cases are a very small proportion of all cases 17, 32, 33
Cases The people, places, and events you are studying - offenders, targets, victims, facilities, time periods (e.g., months or weeks), crimes, and so forth. In case-control studies, cases are the problem people, places, or events (see Case-control and Controls) 22, 32, 33, 37, 53
CHEERS Acronym for elements of defining a problem: Community, Harm, Expectation, Events, Recurring, and Similarity 14, 15, 54
Chronic hot spots Hot spots that persist for a long time (see Acute hotspots) 23
Chronic problems Long-term sets of recurring events that show no sign of abating and are largely resistant to traditional police work 14
Community policing Community policing focuses on crime and social disorder through the delivery of police services that includes aspects of traditional law enforcement, as well as prevention, problem-solving, community engagement, and partnerships 1, 3, 4, 5
CompStat A police management system, pioneered in New York City, that uses up-to-date crime pattern information (often processed with a geographic information system) to hold geographic commanders (e.g., precinct and district) accountable for reducing crime 3, 4, 5
Content The substantive information in a table or figure 56, 57
Control group A group of people or an area that is similar to the treatment group or area, but does not receive treatment. Used in evaluations to control for the impact of other, non-treatment influences on crime 47, 49, 51
Controls (for analysis) Statistical and evaluation design procedures to isolate the effect of one factor on some outcome from that of others. A group of people or areas not getting a response that are compared to those receiving the response to show what would have happened to the response group if the response group had not received the intervention (see Control group) 47, 48, 49, 51
Controls (in case-control studies) In a case-control study, controls are those people, places, times, or events that do not have the outcome being studied, in contrast to cases which do have the outcome. For example, in a case-control study of high-assault bars, the cases are bars with many assaults and the controls are bars with few or no assaults (see Cases, and Case-control study) 32, 33
Controls (on offenders) People and situations that reduce potential offenders' willingness or capabilities to commit crimes 9, 15, 17, 39, 42, 43, 48
Correlation A measure of association between two characteristics 33
Costs Expenses or hardships associated with criminal events or prevention measures 6, 12, 38, 40, 44,
CPTED See Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design
CRAVED An acronym describing the characteristics of items most likely to be stolen and standing for Concealable, Removable, Available, Valuable, Enjoyable, and Disposable 28, 31
Crime Mapping/Maps Examining how crime is spread geographically by showing where it is occurring on maps. See Geographic Information Systems 1, 4, 5, 16, 17, 21, 23, 24, 29, 55, 58
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design A set of principles for designing and laying-out secure buildings and public spaces 24
Crime triangle See Problem analysis triangle 8, 35, 54, 58
Crime-neutral areas Areas attracting neither offenders nor targets, with adequate controls on behaviors 17
Cycles Regular fluctuations in crime that correspond to daily, weekly, monthly, annual, or longer changes in human activity 22, 25, 26, 47, 50
Defiance Offenders challenge the legitimacy of prevention efforts and commit more offenses rather than fewer 11
Den (of iniquity) problems Problem characterized by substantial involvement of repeat places (see Problem analysis triangle, place). Occurs when new potential offenders and new potential targets encounter each other in a place where management is weak 8, 15
Diffused temporal clustering A relatively even, or random, spread of crime throughout 24-hour cycles 25
Diffusion contamination Occurs when diffusion of benefits influences the control group or area during an evaluation. Leads to undervaluing the treatment (see Displacement contamination) 51
Diffusion of benefits Reducing crime beyond the focus of the prevention scheme; a multiplier of effectiveness 11, 13, 38, 47, 49, 51
Diffusion of benefits, crime type Additional crime types blocked 13
Diffusion of benefits, geographical Additional prevention over space 13
Diffusion of benefits, tactical Additional methods thwarted 13
Diffusion of benefits, target Additional targets protected 13
Diffusion of benefits, temporal Additional prevention over time 13
Diffusion-Displacement sites Areas used to detect diffusion of benefits and displacement that are separate from control group and treatment group 51
Displacement Offenders changing their behaviour to thwart preventive actions 1, 4, 11, 12, 13, 38, 40, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 54
Displacement contamination Occurs when crime is displaced into the control group or area during an evaluation. Leads to inflation of effectiveness (see Diffusion contamination) 48, 49
Displacement countermeasures Prevention implemented to prevent expected displacement 48
Displacement, crime type Offenders change type of crime 12, 13, 49
Displacement, geographical Offenders move spatially 12, 13, 46, 48
Displacement, tactical Offenders switch method for committing crime 12, 13, 49
Displacement, target Offenders switch type of target or victim 12, 13, 49
Displacement, temporal Offenders switch time or day 12, 13, 48, 49
Distribution A distribution shows how many cases, or what proportions of the cases, have each of the values for a variable 22
Duck (sitting) problems Problems characterized by substantial involvement of repeat victims (see Crime triangle). Occurs when victims continually interact with potential offenders at different places, but the victims do not increase their precautionary measures and their guardians are either absent or ineffective 8, 15
Edges Boundaries between areas where people live, work, shop, or seek entertainment 16
Enablers, crime Places with little regulation of behavior 17
Environments A criterion for classifying problems describing where the problem takes place (see Behaviors) 15, 28, 30
Facilitators Physical items, social situations, or chemical substances that help offenders commit crimes or acts of disorder 34
Facilitators, chemical Substances that increase offenders' abilities to ignore risk, reward, or excuses 34
Facilitators, physical Things that augment offenders' capabilities, help overcome prevention measures, or incite deviancy 34
Facilitators, social Situations that provide support that stimulates crime or disorder by enhancing rewards from crime, legitimating excuses to offend, or by encouraging offending 34
Facilities Places that have special functions, like schools, businesses, and restaurants 15, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 34, 38, 39, 42, 43, 44, 48
Facilities, risky Facilities that are frequent sites for crime and disorder 18, 20, 23, 27, 28, 29, 34, 44
False Negative An error in which the decision maker predicts something will not occur, but it does occur. Also known as a Type 1 error 37, 53
False Positive An error in which the decision maker predicts something will occur, but it does not occur. Also known as a Type 2 error 37, 53
Flag accounts An explanation for repeat victimization that suggests that some people are particularly vulnerable because of their occupation or their ownership of hot products (see Boost accounts) 29
Focused temporal clustering Clustering of crime in distinct time ranges during 24-hour periods 25
Framework, story A general"story shell" linking multiple interacting factors and that can be applied to a variety of problems 54, 58
Generators, crime Areas to which large numbers of people are attracted for reasons unrelated to criminal motivation 17
Geographic Information System See GIS
GIS Abbreviation for Geographic Information Systems. These are computer databases where all information is linked to geographic locations so that the data can be mapped. This allows comparisons of different areas and places for the same information, and examination of how two or more types of information vary together geographically. GIS is at the heart of all modern crime mapping processes 2, 24, 29
Graded response The response increases in intensity or form as the number of repeat victimizations increases. An intervention used to reduce repeat victimization 29
Handler Someone who knows the offender well and who is in a position to exert some control over his or her actions 25, 28
Home Office The British equivalent of the U.S. Department of Justice, which has funded much research on crime prevention 10, 19, 36, 38, 40, 41
Hot areas Types of hot spots showing neighborhoods where crime is concentrated 23
Hot dots Types of hot spots showing locations with high crime levels 23
Hot lines Types of hot spots showing street segments where crime is concentrated 23
Hot products Things that are particularly attractive for theft 18, 28, 29, 31
Hot spots Geographic concentrations of crime 3, 5, 16, 17, 18, 23, 48, 55
Hypothesis An answer to a question about a problem that can be true or false, and may or may not be supported by evidence 20, 50
Impact evaluation A research study to determine if the response changed the problem 46
Inner quartile range The upper and lower bounds of the 50% of the cases centered on the median 22
Input Resources used in a response 46
Intervention The response being applied to a problem (also called a treatment or response - see Response) 4, 7, 11, 20, 35, 40, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52
Manager A person who has some responsibility for controlling behaviour in a specific location 5, 8, 24, 28, 30, 33, 38, 40, 58
Mean A measure of central tendency, also known as the arithmetical average, calculated by summing the values for all the cases and dividing the sum by the number of cases. Useful for ratio data and symmetrical distributions 22
Median A measure of central tendency that divides the cases into two equal groups, half below the median value and half above 22
Mode A measure of central tendency that shows the value that the largest number of cases possesses 22
Moving average A method for reducing random fluctuation in a time series by recomputing the value for every data point based on the average of preceding time periods (see Smoothing) 26, 52
Near repeats See Virtual repeats 29
Nodes Destination places such as home, work, shopping, entertainment, and school (see Paths) 16
Nominal Scale Values only name and cannot be ranked 22
Odds Ratio A measure of association between two characteristics; useful when a case-control study is used 33
Offender A person who commits a crime or act of disorder 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 28, 29, 30, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 46, 48, 49, 50, 52, 54, 58
Offenders, repeat People who commit many crimes or acts of disorder (see Wolf) 3, 18, 30
Opportunity Short for"crime opportunity structur" and meaning the ephysical and social arrangements that make crime possible 9, 12, 38, 44, 48, 50
Ordinal Scale A measurement scale in which values can be ranked but no other mathematical process can be applied to them 22
Outcome The impact of the response on the problem 11, 33, 37, 46, 54
Packaging The lines and labels used in tables and figures (see Content). Small amounts are needed to help interpret content, but large amounts obscure content 56, 57
Paths Routes connecting nodes 16
Perceptions, offenders' How offenders view situations and prevention measures 11, 34
Place A very small area, such as an address, street corner, or block face (see Crime triangle, den) 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 20, 27, 30, 32, 38, 39, 40, 48
POP See Problem-Oriented Policing 4, 5, 6, 8, 14, 19, 46
POP Guides Summaries of research and practice dealing with specific problems and recommending particular responses. Available from www.popcenter.org and www.cops.usdoj.gov 3, 19
Problem analysis triangle A graphic showing the six principal elements of routine activity theory - offenders, handlers, targets/victims, guardians, places, and managers - and used to organized the analysis of problems 8, 16
Problem-Oriented Policing Policing that changes the conditions that give rise to recurring crime problems, and does not simply rely on responding to incidents as they occur or forestalling them through preventive patrols 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 15, 19, 21, 28, 38, 55, 60
Process evaluation Assessing how a response was implemented 46, 47, 55
Provocations Physical designs or the way places are managed that provoke misconduct 34, 38, 42, 54
p-value The probability that the difference between two sets of statistics is due to randomness (see Significance test) 53
Random fluctuations Short-term changes in problems caused by a large number of very small effects 26, 53
Range A measure of dispersion showing the minimum and maximum value in a distribution 22, 25
Rates, crime The ratio of crimes to targets for an area. Used to control for differences in the number of targets (see Risk, crime) 9, 17, 20, 24, 26, 27, 28, 32, 37, 42, 44, 49, 51
Ratio Scale A measurement scale in which there are equal intervals between the ranked values and a theoretically meaningful zero. Any mathematical procedure can be used on date measured on aratio scale 22
Regression to the mean The tendency for abnormal high or low levels of crime to move back to their normal levels 47, 52
Response The third stage in the SARA process involving the development and implementation of an intervention designed to reduce a problem. Also a term for the preventive treatment or intervention being applied (see Intervention or Treatment) 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 26, 29, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 58, 60
Response group People or places receiving prevention, in contrast to control group 47
Results Activities accomplished in a response 46
Risk, crime The chance a target will be involved in a crime 6, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31, 33, 34, 38, 39, 41
SARA An acronym for the problem solving process (see Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment) 7, 21
Scanning The first stage in the SARA process, involving problem identification, verification, and classification 1, 7, 14, 16, 18, 38, 54
Scripts Standard actions carried out in a particular order by offenders to commit crimes 35, 36
Significance level A threshold below which one rejects the possibility that the difference between two sets of statistics is due to randomness. Often, .05 (or 5%) is the rejection threshold (see Significance test) 53
Significance test A statistical procedure used to determine whether the difference between two groups of numbers is due to randomness 53
Situational Crime Prevention The science of reducing opportunities for crime 1, 13, 16, 34, 38, 41, 54
Smoothing Removing random fluctuations from a time series by using a moving average (see Moving average) 26, 52
Standard Deviation A common measure of spread useful for symmetrical distributions and ratio data. 22, 53
Standard model Policing that relies primarily on the use of patrolling, rapid response, and follow-up investigations to prevent crime 3
Target The person or thing an offender attacks, takes, or harms (see Victim) 2, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 34, 35, 38, 39, 41, 44, 47, 48, 49, 52, 54, 58
Targets at risk Persons or things vulnerable to being attacked, taken, or harmed 26, 27
Temporal clustering Concentration of crime over 24 hours (See Acute, Diffused, and Focused temporal clustering) 25
Time-window effect The underestimation of repeat victimization due to using a set time period 29
Treatment See Response or Intervention 48, 49, 51
Treatment area Areas receiving the response in contrast to control areas (see Response group) 48, 51
Treatment group See Response group 49, 51
Trend A steady increase, decrease, or stable level of crime over some period of time 2, 20, 22, 26, 47, 49, 52, 57
Uncontrolled case study A comparison of troublesome persons, places, times, or events without examining similar untroublesome ones. The results of such a study are often highly misleading. 32
Victim A human target or the owner of stolen goods or damaged property (see Target) 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 14, 15, 16, 18, 21, 22, 23, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 42, 44, 46, 47, 48, 54, 55
Victim, repeat A person or place with multiple crimes or acts of disorder (see Duck) 18, 23, 28, 29
Victimization, repeat The process leading to repeat victims 8, 28, 29, 30, 33, 38, 46
Virtual repeats Victimization of targets that are very similar, though not identical (as in the case of repeat victims or places). Also called "near" repeats 29
Wolf (ravenous) problems Problems characterized by substantial involvement of repeat offenders (see Crime triangle). Occurs when offenders are able to locate temporarily vulnerable targets and places 8, 15