Journal of Experimental Criminology

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 515–548 | Cite as

Displacement of crime and diffusion of crime control benefits in large-scale geographic areas: a systematic review

  • Cody W. Telep
  • David Weisburd
  • Charlotte E. Gill
  • Zoe Vitter
  • Doron Teichman



To conduct a systematic review examining the extent to which there is crime displacement or a diffusion of crime control benefits in social control interventions implemented in medium sized or large geographic areas.


A number of search strategies were used to identify and code eligible experimental or quasi-experimental studies that measured displacement in areas larger than crime hot spots. A total of 33 publications covering 43 quasi-experimental studies were identified as eligible. Nineteen of these publications covering 20 studies were included in a meta-analysis.


The narrative results overall suggest that displacement is not a common occurrence in interventions implemented at larger units of geography and a diffusion of crime control benefits is somewhat more likely to occur. The effect sizes from the meta-analyses suggest that, while the interventions, on average, were associated with a significant decline in crime, displacement was not likely to occur. The meta-analyses found no significant overall evidence of displacement or a diffusion of benefits.


These findings are in line with previous reviews that have focused on displacement at smaller geographic units. When examining larger geographic scales and a broader array of interventions, spatial displacement is still a fairly unlikely occurrence.


Diffusion of benefits Displacement Large areas Meta-analysis Systematic review 



This project was supported by a grant from the National Policing Improvement Agency (UK) to the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University. The opinions, findings and conclusions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the funding agency. Thanks to the anonymous reviewers for their very helpful suggestions. Thanks also to David B. Wilson for his statistical advice on this review and to Breanne Cave, Lisa Dario, Jacqueline Davis, Chantal Fahmy, and Julie Hibdon for their research assistance on this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cody W. Telep
    • 1
  • David Weisburd
    • 2
    • 3
  • Charlotte E. Gill
    • 2
  • Zoe Vitter
    • 2
  • Doron Teichman
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Criminology and Criminal JusticeArizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA
  2. 2.Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, Department of Criminology, Law and SocietyGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Criminology, Faculty of LawHebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael
  4. 4.Faculty of LawHebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael

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