washington post

The trouble with policing ‘hot spots’

In the past two years, a number of major American cities have experienced spikes in homicides and other violent crimes. Mayors and police chiefs have been under pressure to respond, and some are turning to a new policing strategy called “place network investigations.” 

As its name suggests, the strategy focuses on how criminal networks form and thrive in certain geographical places, and it looks at what can be done to try to break up these patterns of crime. Pioneered by academics and now being adopted by cities across the country, it’s the latest in a long line of American policing philosophies that have used data to target crime concentrated in small areas known as hot spots. 

Washington Post investigative reporter Amy Brittain started looking into this policing strategy after learning That Louisville police had been using the strategy at the time of Breonna Taylor’s death in March 2020. They have since abandoned it, but Amy was surprised to discover that at least nine other cities are now using the strategy.

In today’s episode of “Post Reports,” Amy looks at why so many police departments are focusing on geography to fight crime, whether that approach works, and if it does, at what cost.

Read more:

Read more of Amy Brittain’s investigation into the policing strategy known as place network investigations. 

Vote for us in the Webby Awards! Here’s the link to vote for Post Reports for best individual news and politics episode:


And best individual business episode: https://vote.webbyawards.com/PublicVoting#/2022/podcasts/individual-episodes/business