Home > Focused deterrence strategies effects on crime.

Braga, Anthony A and Weisburd, David and Turchan, Brandon (2019) Focused deterrence strategies effects on crime. https://doi.org/10.1002/cl2.1051.

External website: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/c...

The review in brief

A relatively small number of people, often involved in gangs and criminally‐active groups, are responsible for a disproportionate share of crime. Focused deterrence strategies attempt to reduce offending behavior for specific types of crime. Our review suggests that these strategies are associated with moderate overall reductions in crime. Crime is not displaced to other areas, rather it is more likely that there is a diffusion of crime control benefits to adjacent areas and socially‐connected groups of offenders.


What is this review about?

Crime is highly concentrated amongst a small number of highly‐active offenders. Focused deterrence strategies combine law enforcement, community mobilization, and social services in an attempt to reduce offending behavior for specific crime types. A key feature of this crime control strategy involves the direct communications of the consequences of continued criminal offending and the availability of social services to targeted subjects. This review examines whether focused deterrence reduces crime and considers how observed crime reduction effects may vary by the different types of focused deterrence strategies and program evaluation designs.


What do the findings of this review mean?

Findings from this review support the growing use of focused deterrence as a proactive crime reduction strategy. Practitioners and policy‐makers should continue to implement focused deterrence programs to address serious crime problems. The number of studies included in the updated review is more than double the number of studies included in the previous iteration of the review. However, despite the increase in eligible studies, no evaluations utilized a randomized controlled trial design. The growth of focused deterrence warrants more methodologically rigorous program evaluations and further exploration into the specific components of the strategy in order to improve our understanding of how the program reduces crime.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Report, Review
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Crime prevention
September 2019
Identification #

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