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Dallas’ disruption unit: efficacy of hot spots deployment

Hyunseok Jang (Department of Police Administration, Kyonggi University, Suwon‐Si, South Korea)
Chang‐Bae Lee (Department of Police Science, College of Social Sciences, University of Ulsan, Ulsan, South Korea)
Larry T. Hoover (College of Criminal Justice, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 17 August 2012




The majority of the previous research on hot spots policing focuses on a single set of relatively small selected experimental areas. However, given limited resources, most law enforcement agencies dispatch hot spots intervention units to several areas on a rotation basis. The purpose of this paper is to examine policing activities in hot spots to determine if the various types of crimes were affected when deployment was applied on a rotation basis.


This study uses data from the Dallas Police Department. The differential influence of police activities, including stops, citations, and arrests, are observed against a number of aggregate crime measures (i.e. violent, property, nuisance offenses, and total index crimes). The impact of police activities have been observed for their immediate and lagged effects during the following week to measure residual deterrence effects.


It was found that the DPD's Disruption Unit's hot spots policing immediately affected violent crimes, nuisance offenses, and total index crimes, while there were no residual effects of hot spots policing. The Disruption Unit was engaged in policing activities that include motor vehicle and pedestrian stops, issuing citations, and making arrests. Among these activities, the number of police stops was the most significant factor for the reduction in violent crime and nuisance offenses.

Research limitations/implications

The researchers use a patrol sector as a unit of analysis in order to compare the influence of various types of police activities on crime across a broader area. Future research should consider using an intermediate geographic unit of analysis (e.g. patrol beat).


The paper examines the differential influence of policing activities on different types of crime around hot spots when deployment was applied on a rotation basis. Both immediate and lagged effects were investigated to find residual deterrence effects of hot spots policing.



Jang, H., Lee, C. and Hoover, L.T. (2012), "Dallas’ disruption unit: efficacy of hot spots deployment", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 593-614.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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