The effects of gun possession arrests made by a proactive police patrol unit

William Wells (College of Criminal Justice, Sam Houston State University, George J. Beto Center, Huntsville, Texas, USA)
Yan Zhang (College of Criminal Justice, Sam Houston State University, George J. Beto Center, Huntsville, Texas, USA)
Jihong Zhao (College of Criminal Justice, Sam Houston State University, George J. Beto Center, Huntsville, Texas, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Publication date: 25 May 2012

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to estimate the effects of gun possession arrests made by a specialized, proactive police patrol unit in the Houston Police Department (HPD).

Design/methodology/approach

Time series analyses are used to estimate the effects of weekly gun possession arrests on weekly counts of gun crimes in Houston, TX. Models isolate the effects of arrests made by the proactive patrol unit from gun possession arrests made by other HPD officers.

Findings

Citywide and beat‐level analyses show that the proactive unit made meaningful contributions to existing levels of illegal possession arrests. Time series analyses using weekly data show that these additional arrests are associated with significant declines in offences committed with guns. Findings support existing evidence that shows police can affect serious crimes by targeting firearms that are illegally possessed and carried.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis can not precisely determine whether additional patrol presence or arrests are the precise mechanisms that might be influencing gun crimes.

Practical implications

The findings are consistent with existing evidence and suggest that focused police work to seize illegally possessed firearms from the streets and arrest those in illegal possession of firearms will impact offences committed with firearms.

Originality/value

The analysis extends existing work that tests the effects of proactive patrol activities on offences committed with firearms. The analysis is distinct from existing research on this topic because it estimates the effects of gun possession arrests rather than the effects of gun seizures.

Keywords

Citation

Wells, W., Zhang, Y. and Zhao, J. (2012), "The effects of gun possession arrests made by a proactive police patrol unit", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 35 No. 2, pp. 253-271. https://doi.org/10.1108/13639511211230020

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.