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Evidence-Based Policing (EBP)


Policing is a multi-faceted and complex industry. In order to reduce demand and increase community safety and well-being, it’s vital to change the interventions that are being used to manage crime. To do this, we as an organization need to understand the justice client, this can be a victim, an offender or a combination of both.

This is where a practice called Evidence-Based Policing (EBP) comes in.

EBP is the intersection of academic research and policing in a way that provides the most effective solutions in the most efficient manner. 

EBP capitalizes on years of policing experience and uses scientific research and statistical analyses to hone those practices. EBP is an approach to policy making and tactical decision-making for police departments and is an extension of recent global trends toward evidence-based medicine, evidence-based management and evidence-based policy.

Advocates of evidence-based policing emphasize the value of the use of big data, statistical analysis, empirical research and field trials. EBP seeks to raise awareness and increase the application of scientific testing, targeting, and tracking of police resources. For evidence-based practices to be planned and implemented effectively, a wide range of research evidence, practice expertise, and client perspective must be considered.

There are a number of contributing factors which are having adverse impacts on community safety and well-being. The impacts range from gang violence, domestic violence, mental health and addiction issues, to disorder and traffic complaints. It is impossible for the police to fully know all the contributing factors or have a fulsome understanding of each specific issue. That level of understanding requires partnerships across multiple social service sectors as well as the use of advanced analytics to discover patterns and develop solutions. 

Let’s take hot spots and crime in places, for example.

Research consistently shows that crime concentrates in small areas. 50% of crime occurs in only 3% of places in major cities. These 3% of places are referred to as "hot spots". Hot spots are durable over a long time, in that criminality remains consistent.

Based on evidence-based policing research, members patrolling on foot in hot spots 10-16 minutes at a time within a 2-hour period (known as the Koper Curve) has been attributed to the most significant and long-lasting crime prevention effects.

Known as the phantom effect, crime can be prevented based on the routine presence of police, even when they are not at the hot spot.

Police are responsible for the safety and security of the population. The use of the Evidence Based practices will allow the police to be more efficient and effective in ensuring community safety.