Research Impact


Reducing crime through evidence-based policing and crime reduction

Research by the UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science (JDI) has helped bring cutting-edge crime reduction research findings to practice.

Edinburgh city police keep an eye on crowds at the Royal Mile during Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

12 April 2022

The Jill Dando Institute (JDI) generates evidence on crime patterns and crime reduction strategies, translating this evidence into actionable insights for use by police and crime reduction policymakers and professionals.  

Researchers at the JDI have been at the forefront of pioneering crime mapping methods for over two decades, with recent innovations allowing innovative street-by-street crime prediction. These methods not only allow for more accurate crime predictions and responses, they also align more closely with police practice, allowing for easier integration into current working.  

Impact on crime reduction 

This work has had major impacts on crime reduction. West Yorkshire Police, for example– the fourth largest force in England and Wales – have introduced a new approach to the deployment of police patrols based on the JDI’s innovative crime mapping methods, reporting a 24% reduction in crime across the police force area since the change. In relation to burglary specifically, this has resulted in over 800 fewer victims each year. 

An independent assessment conducted by researchers at Radford University found that targeted policing based on JDI mapping methods in Port St. Lucie, Florida resulted in up to 79% reductions in crime in treatment areas, with no evidence of crime being displaced into neighbouring areas. Elsewhere, collaborations with the National Police Service of Uruguay identified persistent robbery hot spots in the city of Montevideo. These were then used to design the first targeted police patrol programme in Uruguay, resulting in a reduction in robberies by 23% in treatment areas. These successes have subsequently inspired the development and implementation of hot spot policing projects in over 30 cities in Argentina, six cities in Mexico and six in Brazil.  

Crime Reduction Toolkit 

JDI researchers also make evidence more accessible to crime reduction professionals and policymakers. As part of the What Works Centre for Crime Reduction, JDI researchers have developed a new Crime Reduction Toolkit: a free, interactive online resource summarising both the quality and coverage of the most up-to-date research in crime reduction. The toolkit uses the JDI-created ‘EMMIE’ framework, which assesses the Effects, Mechanisms, Moderators, Implementation and Economics of crime prevention interventions, allowing practitioners to efficiently manage and sort research evidence. 

The Toolkit has been shortlisted for numerous awards, and it received over 420,000 hits from police and crime prevention professionals across 75 countries and six continents in the first five years of its launch. 

The EMMIE framework itself has been influential in police policy and practice. In the UK, the Office of the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner now uses EMMIE to assess funding bids. The framework is used by Ireland’s Department of Justice to collate and assess evidence around youth justice, and the UK What Works Centre for Children's Social Care uses EMMIE to assess evidence- based practice across the children’s social care sector. 

Research synopsis

Reducing crime through evidence-based policing and crime reduction 

Summary: Research by the UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science (JDI) has helped bring cutting-edge crime reduction research findings to practice. Working closely with policymakers, police services and crime reduction professionals, JDI research has brought about a culture shift towards more evidence-based working. Direct benefits include a 24% reduction in crime in West Yorkshire (UK), and a 23% reduction in robberies in Montevideo (Uruguay).