Journal of Experimental Criminology

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 409–435 | Cite as

Street-level drug law enforcement: A meta-analytical review

  • Lorraine Mazerolle
  • David W. Soole
  • Sacha Rombouts


Our paper presents the results of a meta-analytical review of street level drug law enforcement. We conducted a series of meta-analyses to compare and contrast the effectiveness of four types of drug law enforcement approaches, including community-wide policing, problem-oriented/partnership approaches that were geographically focused, hotspots policing and standard, unfocused law enforcement efforts. We examined the relative impact of these different crime control tactics on street-level drug problems as well as associated problems such as property crime, disorder and violent crime. The results of the meta-analyses, together with examination of forest plots, reveal that problem-oriented policing and geographically-focused interventions involving cooperative partnerships between police and third parties tend to be more effective at controlling drug problems than community-wide policing efforts that are unfocused and spread out across a community. But geographically focused and community-wide drug law enforcement interventions that leverage partnerships are more effective at dealing with drug problems than traditional, law enforcement-only interventions. Our results suggest that the key to successful drug law enforcement lies in the capacity of the police to forge productive partnerships with third parties rather than simply increasing police presence or intervention (e.g., arrests) at drug hotspots.

Key words

drug law enforcement meta-analysis police partnerships policing hotspots problem-oriented policing street-level drug problems 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorraine Mazerolle
    • 1
  • David W. Soole
    • 2
  • Sacha Rombouts
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Criminology and Criminal JusticeGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and GovernanceGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia

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