Explore the limitations and criticisms of the Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment. From methodological constraints to ethical concerns, this post offers a balanced look at a landmark study in policing.
The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment generated a variety of insights that challenged the prevailing beliefs of the time. In this post, we will examine the key findings of the study and their implications.
Crime Rates Unaffected
One of the most startling findings was that the level of police patrols had no significant impact on crime rates. Whether the patrols were increased, decreased, or maintained at the standard level, the study found no measurable differences in criminal activity.
Interestingly, the experiment also revealed that the level of patrols did not affect the police response times to emergency calls. This was contrary to the prevailing notion that increased patrols would lead to quicker response times.
The study found that the public’s attitude towards police and their perception of safety were not significantly affected by the level of police patrols. This challenged the idea that visible police presence reassures the community and makes them feel safer.
Calls for Service
The number of calls for police service did not vary significantly across the different levels of patrol. This indicated that the public’s demand for police assistance remained constant, regardless of the patrol strategy employed.
Insights into Reporting
The study also explored the effects of different patrol levels on the rate at which crimes were reported. No significant differences were found, debunking the belief that increased patrols encourage more crime reporting.
Why These Findings Matter
These findings were groundbreaking because they directly challenged established practices and beliefs in law enforcement. They prompted a reevaluation of the effectiveness of routine patrols as a crime deterrent and as a means to improve community relations.
Implications for Policing
The study’s findings raised important questions about resource allocation in police departments. If increasing patrols does not lead to crime reduction or improved public perception, should those resources be redirected to other strategies?
Summary and Future Posts
This post outlined the major findings of the Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment, which played a significant role in shaping modern policing strategies. In subsequent posts, we will discuss the implications of these findings for contemporary law enforcement and also provide a balanced critique of the study.
- Cover Image © Kansas City Police Historical Society
- Kelling, G.; Pate, A.; Dickman, D.; Brown, C (1974). “The Kansas City preventive patrol experiment: A technical report“. Police Foundation.