Implementing and Evaluating Place Network Investigations (PNI) Violence Reduction Strategies in Six Jurisdictions

Place Network Investigations (PNI) is an emerging gun-violence reduction strategy that couples complex investigations of the place networks that create the infrastructure for offending with a holistic all-city/county board of intervention partners to develop long-lasting changes to the hot spots. However, more research is needed to build its evidence base.

Project Overview

This project aims to implement and evaluate Place Network Investigations (PNI), a promising violence reduction strategy in six police jurisdictions (Denver, Harris County, TX, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Tucson, and Wichita). In addition to providing local technical assistance and training for participating agencies, this project is designed to build the evidence base for violence reduction strategies through process and outcome evaluations. The National Policing Institute is evaluating how these programs are implemented to develop tools to assist other agencies in implementing PNI strategies. This process evaluation assesses agency resources, helps identify potential partnerships between the police agency and other city and county services, and guides the creation of a multiagency PNI Board to direct PNI resources and efforts. We are assessing the impact of PNI on violent crime involving a firearm (e.g., homicides, robberies, aggravated assaults) in target locations using an outcome evaluation.

PNI, referred to in some jurisdictions as PIVOT (Place Investigations of Violent Offender Territories), is a citywide violence reduction strategy focusing on micro-hotspot locations to achieve long-term crime and violence reductions. PNI is grounded in evidence that persistent violent hotspots are visible indicators of underlying crime place networks (i.e., specific locations used to conduct illegal activities). Using the PNI model, problematic locations are identified, investigated, and targeted by the police and other city/county departments to dismantle the crime place networks and disrupt the offender networks operating in those locations. Notably, eradicating deeply entrenched crime place networks has produced sustained crime reductions, facilitating community re-development and long-term economic growth.

Initial promising results have emerged from PNI implementation in Cincinnati (winner of the prestigious 2017 Herman Goldstein Award for Excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing) and Arnold Ventures (AV)-supported research in Las Vegas. However, this approach is relatively new, and additional research is needed to examine how PNI can be successfully implemented in other agencies and to build a more substantial evidence base surrounding the impact of PNI on crime.

Methodology

The project includes a three-phase process designed to provide officials in participating agencies with the technical assistance and training necessary to fully implement the PNI strategy โ€“ while simultaneously conducting a robust process and outcome evaluation and developing the practitioner tools critical for widespread dissemination and adoption. Phase I was the planning initiative, where the project team assisted the six jurisdictions with establishing partnerships, integrating PNI with other ongoing citywide violence reduction strategies, creating and training investigative teams and the intervention board, building agency investigative capabilities, selecting PNI target sites, and communicating the purpose and expected outcomes of the PNI initiative. Phase II advanced to program implementation, where we partnered with each of the six jurisdictions to gather and analyze site pre-intelligence before initiating criminal investigations and the PNI Board meetings. During Phase II, we began developing practitioner-based tools for further implementation and replication in other locations. Phase III involves a formal outcome evaluation of the PNI strategy and the completion of best practice guides and tools for PNI implementation. Phase III activities also include working with our various partners in the field to disseminate the practitioner tools and evaluation results broadly.

The National Policing Institute is conducting a process and outcome evaluation, with finding to be disseminated at the beginning of 2024. The PNI process evaluation assesses the degree to which investigations and network disruption activities align with recommended PNI implementation practices. The research team conducted site observations and informal interviews with PNI project personnel throughout the implementation and evaluation period to assess adherence to the PNI model and to document variation in processes and associated outcomes across sites. The outcome evaluation uses the most rigorous quasi-experimental methodologies to detect the impact of PNI on violence in the micro-locations. Specifically, the research team uses crime, arrest, and calls for service data from the six agencies to determine whether crime events and calls for service declined in scope or severity or whether the length of time between incidents changed during the initiative.

Project Resources

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Project Publications

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Strategic Priority Area(s)

Staff Contact(s)

Annelise Pietenpol

Annelise Pietenpol, Ph.D.

Senior Research Associate

Media Contact

Media inquiries should be directed to our Communications team at:

media@policinginstitute.org
202-833-1460

More Information

Project Status: Active

Project Period:ย  January 2021 -

Location(s): Tucson, AZ, Houston, TX, Wichita, KS, Denver, CO, Las Vegas, NV, Philadelphia, PA

Strategic Priority Area(s)

Staff Contact(s)

Annelise Pietenpol

Annelise Pietenpol, Ph.D.

Senior Research Associate

Media Contact

 

Media inquiries should be directed to our Communications team at:

media@policinginstitute.org
202-833-1460