This article evaluates the effective of a hot spots policing strategy: using automated license plate readers at roadblocks in Buffalo, NY. Different roadblock locations were chosen by the Buffalo Police Department every day over a two-month period. We use propensity score matching to identify a set of control locations based on prior counts of crime and demographic factors. We find modest reductions in Part 1 violent crimes (10 over all roadblock locations and over the two months) using t tests of mean differences. We find a 20% reduction in traffic accidents using fixed effects negative binomial regression models. Both results are sensitive to the model used though, and the fixed effects models predict increases in crimes due to the intervention. We suggest that the limited intervention at one time may be less effective than focusing on a single location multiple times over an extended period.
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While NHTSA maintains a list of case studies (see http://www.nhtsa.gov/Driving+Safety/Enforcement+&+Justice+Services/DDACTS+Successes), and an additional outcome analysis for Shawnee, Kansas is available (Bryant, 2014), all of these studies simply look at citywide or specific area trends over time. None of the studies have control groups.
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Results were also replicated using a caliper of one quarter of the standard deviation of the logit of the estimated propensity score. The findings were identical to those reported. Many different procedures to match control cases tend to result in very similar levels of balance subsequent inferences (Austin 2014).
Places that were targeted multiple times only the first treated time is used to determine the pre- and post-period.
We also conducted analysis assessing whether the treatment effect varied over locations. In particular, we were interested whether locations that had multiple roadblocks had larger deterrent effects, or places where multiple roadblocks were spatially clustered had larger deterrent effects. Neither appeared to be the case, and there were no specific locations with very large increases or decreases in crime, calls for service, or accidents—consistent with the pooled results.
For each regression equation, different sets of units needed to be dropped due to all zero counts. So not all equations have an equal number of observations associated with them.
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Wheeler, A.P., Phillips, S.W. A quasi-experimental evaluation using roadblocks and automatic license plate readers to reduce crime in Buffalo, NY. Secur J 31, 190–207 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41284-017-0094-1