The effects of hot spots policing on community perceptions of police.

Tammy Rinehart Kochel
Associate Professor of Criminology & Criminal Justice, Southern Illinois University

Key Findings

  • Directed patrol policing, a form of hot spots policing where officers patrol the streets proactively, was found to decrease community trust in police legitimacy immediately after implementation.
  • In both collaborative problem-solving, a conflict resolution strategy in hot spots policing, and directed patrol policing, the community perceptions of police are shown to recover and indicate there is no long-term harm in implementing hot spots policing.
  • Citizens in both the directed patrol and collaborative problem-solving policing groups were more willing to cooperate with police in the long-term compared to the standard policing group.


In the article, Assessing Community Consequences of Implementing Hot Spots Policing in Residential Areas: Findings from a Randomized Field Trial,” Kochel and her co-authors examine the effect that different types of hot spots policing have on the community by testing policing strategies in St. Louis, MO communities and surveying residents. The goal of the study was to evaluate whether or not hot spots policing negatively affects citizens’ perceptions of police and police abuse in the community. The researchers randomly assigned one of the three strategies (problem solving, directed patrol, or standard policing) to 71 hot spots communities and surveyed the members before implementing the policing, after implementing the policing, and six-to-nine months after implementing the policing strategy. The results showed that overall hot spots policing did not leave community members with long-term negative perceptions of police.

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