What is the best thing the police can do to reduce crime?

A summary of the existing research evidence, with links to more detailed information - part of our overview of "What works in policing to reduce crime".

Crime is highly concentrated: the evidence shows that most of it is associated with only a small proportion of places, victims and offenders. This has important potential implications for the targeting of police resources.

Read more: People and places - how resources can be targeted

Focusing action on crime and anti-social behaviour hotspots, repeat victims, and prolific or high volume offenders is, therefore, an effective way to allocate resources for crime reduction. Understanding what is causing high volume offending or problems in hotspots and coming up with specific solutions - often in partnership with others - allows the police to drive down crime.

Read more: Targeted approaches to crime and disorder reduction

As well as preventing crime and deterring offenders, the way the police treat individuals and communities day to day in any encounter (and, historically, over time) can also make a difference to crime. By treating people equally, making decisions fairly, explaining them, and being respectful, the police can encourage people to cooperate with them and not break the law.

Read more: What stops people offending?

In summary, the best thing that police can do to reduce crime is to target resources based on analysis of the problem and at the same time ensure the fair treatment of all those they have contact with.