The Hotspot Matrix as a Framework for Targeted Intelligence-Led Crime Reduction

Jerry Ratcliffe, Temple University

Intelligence-led policing has increased the pressure on police to clearly identify a problem and to determine an effective crime reduction strategy. At the most basic level a police commander should therefore know where and when crime is happening, so that resources can be focused to the areas of highest need. This paper outlines the techniques used to identify the spatial and temporal components of crime hotspots, and uses these methods to identify three broad categories of temporarl hotspot and three broad categories of spatial hotspot. These categories are described in the form of a Hotspot Matrix, a tool used not just to categorize crime problems but as a framework to plan and test detection and prevention strrategies. Real examples show how the spatial and temporal characteristics combine within the hotspot matrix, and the paper concludes by showing how operational commanders and crime prevention practitioners might employ the hotspot matrix to determine an appropriate prevention or detection strategy.

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Updated 05/20/2006