Legitimacy policing of places: The impact on crime and disorder

Higginson, Angela & Mazerolle, Lorraine (2014) Legitimacy policing of places: The impact on crime and disorder. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 10(4), pp. 429-457.


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To examine whether or not spatially-focused legitimacy policing interventions reduce crime and disorder in the places where they are applied.


Building on the NPIA-funded systematic review of legitimacy policinginterventions by Mazerolle et al et al. (2013). Legitimacy in policing: asystematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 1, we conducted a systematic review of published and unpublished literature examining spatially-focused legitimacy policing. Inclusion criteria were that the intervention: (1) was police-led and included at least one element of procedural justice; (2) was focused on micro- or macro-places smaller than a city; (3) reported an outcome of crime or disorder measured at place level; and (4) used an experimental or quasi-experimental design. The review covers the years 1980–2012.


The search yielded 21 documents, which evaluated 33 studies, and reported 86 outcomes of crime and disorder. Using a random-effects meta-analysis, we found that legitimacy policing focused on place reduces the levels of overall crime. Subgroup analysis demonstrated a significant reduction in measures of both overall and Part 1 crime; however, there was no significant reduction in Part 2 crimes. There was no significant heterogeneity between subgroups when moderator analysis was performed on the specific intervention type, or on a measure of increased police service and level of procedural justice.


Overall, we find that spatially-focused policing interventions that incorporate a procedurally just dialogue result in a measurable decrease in crime and disorder in the intervention areas. Consistent with the Mazerolle et al. review of legitimacy policing, our review also suggests that the particular vehicle of the intervention at problem places may be less important in promoting crime control than the dialogue established between police and citizens.

Impact and interest:

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1 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 97582
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Police legitimacy, Procedural justice, Systematic review, Crime control, Spatially focused policing
DOI: 10.1007/s11292-014-9215-6
ISSN: 1572-8315
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Crime & Justice Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Copyright Statement: The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11292-014-9215-6
Deposited On: 24 Jul 2016 22:39
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2016 09:31

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