OJJDP Bulletin Presents Findings From Hot Spots Policing Study

Photo of three youth talking to each other
An OJJDP-funded study reveals that juvenile crime tends to concentrate in discrete areas where youth congregate, and that police resources are used most efficiently when law enforcement focuses specifically on these places to deter crime.

OJJDP has published these and other findings in the bulletin, Hot Spots of Juvenile Crime: Findings From Seattle. The bulletin provides the first portrait of the distribution of officially recorded juvenile crime events in smaller geographical areas—such as a favorite gathering place in a mall, restaurant, or shop—rather than certain police precincts or beats, the larger areas usually patrolled by police.

Between 1989 and 2002, researchers led by Dr. David Weisburd—a distinguished criminologist and leading researcher in the field of hot spots policing—geographically mapped the crime incidents in which a juvenile was arrested in Seattle to identify the rates and hot spots of juvenile crime in the city. Following are some of the study's key findings:

  • Fifty percent of all juvenile crime incidents occurred in less than 1 percent of street segments—an area that includes the addresses on both sides of a street between two intersections. All juvenile crime incidents occurred in less than 5 percent of street segments.
  • Juvenile crime was concentrated in public and commercial areas where youth gather—schools, youth centers, shops, malls, and restaurants—rather than residential areas.
  • Crime rates often vary from one street segment to the next, suggesting that police efforts targeting these hot spots can reduce crime.

To order a printed copy of Hot Spots of Juvenile Crime: Findings From Seattle, visit the National Criminal Justice Reference Service Web site.