Enhancing Policing with Resources on Crime Reduction Strategies and Best Practices


Over the years, researchers and practitioners have supported the implementation of numerous policing strategies to prevent crime and increase public safety. Some of these strategies proved to be effective in preventing crime and enhancing public safety, while some showed promising outcomes that contributed to community outreach, technology adoption, crime mapping, resource allocation, and data collection. Below, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) has highlighted resources that can help law enforcement decisionmakers build awareness of effective crime reduction and policing strategies.


The National Institute of Justice’s CrimeSolutions.gov is a web-based clearinghouse that shares programs and practices with ratings signifying the strength or effectiveness of the programs. The clearinghouse stores programs after rigorous evaluation and meta-analysis that examine similar studies and measure the effectiveness of the programs or approaches. Programs and practices are rated according to three categories: effective, promising, or no effects. Currently, CrimeSolutions.gov shares information on 81 programs and 11 practices related to effective crime reduction and policing strategies, including more than 10 effective programs that reduced targeted crimes. One policing strategy that criminal justice agencies can learn about is focused deterrence, a data-driven approach that identifies key high-risk groups and gangs that are responsible for a disproportionate number of violent crimes in the area. Through CrimeSolutions.gov, law enforcement agencies can learn about the Operation Ceasefire model in Boston, Massachusetts or the Group Violence Reduction Strategy in New Orleans, Louisiana, identify best practices, and create tailored programs to meet their jurisdictions’ unique needs. CrimeSolutions.gov shares numerous similar strategies that law enforcement agencies can implement based on their local challenges, size, and location.

The RAND Corporation’s Better Policing Toolkit

The RAND Corporation created the pilot Better Policing Toolkit for law enforcement agencies and training and technical assistance (TTA) providers with two objectives in mind: (1) to synthesize and disseminate information on policing strategies, and (2) to provide general assistance on implementing innovative strategies with a focus on supporting leadership and organizational change management. The pilot tool helps law enforcement agencies easily access policing strategies that they can use in their jurisdictions, such as hot spot policing, problem-oriented policing, community-oriented policing, and strategies to solve homicides and other serious crimes. It provides key information on these strategies, such as summaries, key process steps, mistakes to avoid, and examples. It also offers useful tips on the factors that make an intervention likely to work.

The Better Policing Toolkit recognizes that law enforcement agencies and TTA providers often need synthesized and readily accessible information on policing strategies to handle a specific type of challenge. For example, if a police department is experiencing a high homicide rate or other serious crimes in their jurisdiction, they can refer to the Better Policing Toolkit and learn about a guidebook named “Homicide Process Mapping.” This guidebook includes resources to solve homicides and other serious crimes; summaries of best practices for homicide investigations; checklists of activities to do within the first 8, 24, and 48 hours of a homicide; and model worksheets for homicide callouts and investigation briefings. There are additional policing strategies within the Better Policing Toolkit that law enforcement agencies or TTA providers can use to enhance their knowledge and implement based on their needs.

College of Policing’s Crime Reduction Toolkit

In 2013, the government of the United Kingdom created the online resource College What Works Centre for Crime Reduction to review best practices and interventions, with the goal of reducing crime and guiding decisionmakers to efficiently allocate resources. It is part of the What Works Network that shares extensive evidence to guide public spending decisionmaking. The Crime Reduction Toolkit housed in the College What Works platform shares available research evidence to reduce crime. The toolkit includes information on the impact of interventions on crime, costs, how and where they work, and implementation methods. For example, if a jurisdiction is experiencing high burglary in the area, the local law enforcement agency can go to Crime Reduction Toolkit, select Burglary as a problem area, and choose Prevention as a focus area to identify different crime reduction options. The toolkit will offer several options, such as neighborhood watch, problem-oriented policing, closed circuit television cameras, and street lighting, as crime reduction strategies that an agency can implement based on their budget, need, and severity of the problem. Users can find a detailed summary of the findings for each intervention in this interactive toolkit, which received a Best Practice certificate in the European and National Level category at the European Public Sector Awards 2017.

If you have any questions about the Crime Reduction Toolkit, please email whatworks@college.pnn.police.uk.

Implementing Best Practices in Policing Efforts

Law enforcement agencies and TTA providers face challenges every day that often need to be resolved immediately and effectively. For this reason, agencies and partners need to be knowledgeable and have information on best practices for effective crime prevention and policing readily available. CrimeSolutions.gov, RAND Corporation’s Better Policing Toolkit, and College of Policing’s Crime Reduction Toolkit are just a few resources that are easily accessible for law enforcement agencies, decisionmakers, and TTA providers that will help them (1) succeed in their criminal justice efforts, (2) implement proactive solutions to public safety concerns, and (3) enable leaders to make informed decisions by equipping them with the benefits and challenges associated with each strategy.

To submit the work of your organization or jurisdiction for consideration to be featured in a future BJA NTTAC TTA Spotlight, please email BJANTTAC@ojp.usdoj.gov.

If your agency or community is interested in resources containing best practices or would like to apply for technical assistance, please contact BJA NTTAC at BJANTTAC@ojp.usdoj.gov to discuss your unique criminal justice needs.