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Institutionalizing place-based policing: the adoption of a Case of Place approach

Brenda J. Bond (Institute for Public Service, Sawyer Business School, Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
Elias Nader (School of Criminology and Justice Studies, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 19 April 2018

Issue publication date: 4 May 2018




Research shows that crime and disorder tend to concentrate in small, geographic locations and that place-based and problem-solving policing strategies can impact crime and disorder without displacing it to neighboring areas. However, implementation of problem-solving is a challenge. Loosely defined locations, shallow problem analysis, and distractions to problem-solving are cited implementation shortcomings. These shortcomings may be overcome by using the Case of Place approach, a case management strategy focused on documenting and analyzing place-based dynamics and characteristics to inform and direct policing strategies. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


The current study describes the adoption of the Case of Place approach in an urban police agency’s operations and performance management system. The authors utilize implementation theory to explore and explain the adoption of this new place-based strategy.


Key findings reveal important structural and cultural challenges to implementation. Structural challenges included modifying supervision structures, creating new positions, decentralizing analytical functions, and redirecting resources to problem-solving. Cultural challenges observed included emphasizing problem-solving as an organizational priority, integrating crime analysts into neighborhood precincts, and centering performance management processes around problem-solving.


The authors explore how implementation dynamics impact the adoption of new policies and practices, and offer a number of propositions for the use of the Case of Place approach within a place-based strategy portfolio.



This project was supported by Award No. 2011-DB-BX-0027 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.


Bond, B.J. and Nader, E. (2018), "Institutionalizing place-based policing: the adoption of a Case of Place approach", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 41 No. 3, pp. 372-385.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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