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The Police Foundation Displacement and Diffusion Study (Jersey City)

Publication Date

September 2010


David Weisburd


The main focus of this study is immediate spatial displacement or diffusion to areas near the targeted sites of a police intervention. This research represents the first attempt we are aware of to examine displacement as a primary outcome, and thus it was designed to optimize the identification of displacement and diffusion outcomes. Do focused prevention efforts simply move crime around the corner? Or, conversely, do hot spots policing efforts that bring unusually high dosages of police presence to target areas diffuse crime prevention benefits to areas immediately surrounding the target areas? To answer these questions, two study sites were selected in Jersey City, New Jersey. One area had a high concentration of drug and violent crime; the other was the site of a strong concentration of prostitution activity.

Our findings indicate that, at least for crime markets involving drugs and prostitution, crime does not simply move around the corner. Indeed, this study supports the position that the most likely outcome of such focused crime prevention efforts is a diffusion of crime control benefits to nearby areas.

Research Design

Randomized controlled trial (RCT)

Research Methods

Secondary data analysis, Interviews, Observation / Participant observation, Field-based experiment

Recommended Citation

Weisburd, D., Wyckoff, L.A., Ready, J., Eck, J.E., Hinkle, J., & Gajewski, F. (2010). The Police Foundation displacement and diffusion study. The Police Foundation. https://www.policinginstitute.org/publication/the-police-foundation-displacement-and-diffusion-study/