Micro-Level Policing for Preventing Near Repeat Residential Burglary

Publication Date

June 2018


Elizabeth R. Groff and Travis A. Taniguchi


The objective of this project was to test the efficacy of swift resident notification for preventing subsequent burglaries within near-repeat high-risk zones (NR-HRZ). The experiment was conducted in Baltimore County, Maryland and Redlands, California. As residential burglaries came to the attention of the police, a trickle randomization process was used to assign each micro-level NR-HRZ (measured 800 ft, 244 m from the burglary location) and associated buffer (400 ft, 122 m) to treatment or control. Treatment was performed by uniform agency volunteers and consisted of swift notification to residents in the area of increased risk of burglary victimization. Treatment and control zones were compared for differences in the mean count of residential burglary using independent samples t tests. Two surveys were administered to gauge the impact of the program: one targeted residents and one targeted at the treatment providers. There was limited evidence that the treatment reduced follow-on burglaries. The effectiveness of the intervention varied depending on the post-intervention time period being considered. The results of the community survey suggested that: (1) the most frequent crime prevention actions taken by residents were relatively low-cost and low-effort and (2) notification did not increase resident fear of burglary. The treatment provider survey found that the program was effective at increasing the level of engagement between volunteers and the agency and had positive impacts on community perception. This research demonstrated that law enforcement volunteers can be used to undertake programs that have positive impacts on police-community relations. Limitations included low near-repeat counts, delays in discovering/reporting burglary, and staffing constraints.

Research Design

Randomized controlled trial (RCT)

Research Methods

Interviews, Surveys, Field-based experiment

Recommended Citation

Groff, E. R. & Taniguchi, T. R. (2018). Micro-level policing for preventing near repeat burglary. National Policing Institute.