Case Study 1: Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment

Case Study 1: Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment
CRJ 400: Crime Prevention Strategies

Kansas police experiment

The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment was conducted by the Kansas City Police with assistance from the Police Foundation. The experiment sought to assess the effectiveness of police patrol presence in the community in relation to reducing crime and making citizens feel safer. From the experiment, a conclusion was drawn that the amount of police presence during patrols had little impact in reducing the level of crime in the area. Increasing the level of patrol also failed to increase people’s confidence in the police as they did not feel any safer even with increased police presence.

The proactive measures taken to prevent crime were implemented in 15 police beats whereby routine preventive patrols were classified as reactive beats and were eliminated in five beats. Since police officers could only enter the areas when responding to calls from citizens, the beats were similar in relation to police presence in the area before the calls came in (NPF, 2016). A normal routine was maintained in five control beats but increased double or triple the number in five proactive beats. The difference was greatly influenced by the number of calls made by residents especially in the case of reactive beats compared to the rest.

In the experiment, reactive beats refer to actions taken by police in their beats while responding to calls from residents seeking assistance or reporting crimes that needed to be investigated. In relation to adjoining proactive beats, proactive beats differ from concentrated presence in that, the number of police presence in an area was determined by the frequency of calls from residents seeking assistance from the police (NPF, 2016). Concentrated presence on the other hand means that police patrols are located in specific areas regardless of whether there have been calls from residents or not. While the number of police presence in the case of reactive beats differs, the number of police in concentrated presence is constant unless stipulated otherwise.

From the experiment, the basic components of crime prevention focused on police presence, willingness of residents to report crime and the ability of patrols to deter crime. The experiments examined how effective police officers would be in preventing crime especially when dealing with reactive beats (NPF, 2016). Its success was however heavily dependent on residents willingness to report crimes as this would help police officers to track down a crime in progress and react accordingly. The proactive approach of the police and residents sought to deter crime as police would be mostly on patrol and their effectiveness intensified by the assistance from the residents.

Over time, prevention trends have evolved from simple proactive measures that involve civilians to the inclusion of different forms of technology such as cameras and other advanced forensic equipment (Kelling, 2013). While past prevention methods relied heavily on reaching the crime scene during the occurrence of the crime, new methods have made it possible to track down criminals and tie them to specific crimes with enough evidence to convict them of crimes regardless of how long an offence was committed.

Even with the advancement in technology and police efficiency in preventing crime, there are various topics for discussion in regards to crime prevention and deterrence. The first topic could focus on the role that residents could still play to deter crime (Novak et al, 2017). With advancements in technology, citizens could be more effective in not only reporting crimes but also capturing details about criminals such as taking recordings of crimes in progress.  Another topic that could be discussed is how to make patrols more effective in deterring crime. Doing so will ensure that police presence in an area has better outcomes as tools of crime deterrence.




Kelling, G. L. (2013). The Kansas City preventive patrol experiment: A summary report. Washington: Police Foundation.

National Police Foundation, (2016). The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment. Retrieved from: experiment/

Novak, K. J., Cordner, G. W., Smith, B. W., & Roberg, R. R. (2017). Police & society. New York: Oxford University Press

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