What Works Briefings

These briefings were developed by researchers from the College of Policing (prior to the launch of the Crime Reduction Toolkit) to summarise the best available research evidence on each topic area.  For up to date information on a wider range of interventions based on the EMMIE rating and ranking model, go to the Crime Reduction Toolkit.

​​​What works in policing to reduce crime​​

A brief overview of the most effective ways the police can fight crime, based o​​​​n the best research evidence to date.

The briefings below summarise Campbe​​ll Collaboration Systematic Reviews - longer, more technical reports which assess the research literature using systemati​​c and explicit accountable methods.​​


Mentoring interventions to affect juvenile delinquency and associated problems

Young people engaged in mentoring interventions displayed a lower likelihood of delinquency, aggression and substance abuse, and achieved better academi​​c results.

The effects of CCTV on crime​

Use of closed-circuit television (CCTV) can lead to a small reduction in crime. CCTV is more effective when directed against specific types of crime; it is effective at reducing theft of and from vehicles, but has no impact on levels of violent crime.

Neighbourhood Watch​​

Neighbourhood Watch programmes incorporating property marking and home security surveys (Neighbourhood Watch Plus) are effective in reducing crime.

The effects of improved street lighting on crime​

Improved street lighting had a positive effect in reducing the incidence of crimes such as burglary and theft, but not violent crimes. The positive effects were felt in the daytime as well as at night.

Domestic abuse and second responder programmes​

After the initial police response, if victims of family abuse receive a "second responder" visit within two weeks, offering advice and support, they may be more willing to report subsequent incidents of violence.

Street-level drug enforcement​​​

Problem-oriented, community and hot-spot policing are each more successful in policing drugs markets than the traditional approach of preventative patrol and reactive detection.

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Increased police patrols for preventing alcohol-​​impaired driving

Police patrols to reduce drink driving have a modest impact in reducing traffic collisions - especially when supported by a media campaign to increase perception of the risk of being caught.

The effects of hot-spot policing on crime​​​​

Hot-spot policing is an effective crime reduction strategy, but only modestly. Hot-spot policing works best for drug offences, violent crime and disorder, while it was less effective (but still had some positive effect) for property crimes.

The effects of problem-oriented policing on crime and disorder​​

Problem-solving approaches, especially those based around the SARA model, have a positive impact on the problems they target and are an effective way of dealing with crime and disorder problems, although the effect is fairly modest.

"Scared Straight" and other juvenile awareness programmes for preventing juvenile delinquency​

Programmes that use organised prison visits to deter juvenile delinquents or children at risk of becoming delinquent from future offending not only fail to deter crime but actually lead to more offending behaviour.