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Hot Spot Policing

What is Hot Spot Policing?

Hot Spot Picture


Over the past two decades, a series of rigorous evaluations have suggested that police can be effective in addressing crime and disorder when they focus on small units of geography with high rates of crime. These areas are typically referred to as hot spots and policing strategies and tactics focused on these areas are usually referred to as hot spot policing or place-based policing.

This place-based focus stands in contrast to traditional notions of policing and crime prevention more generally, which have often focused primarily on people.  Police, of course, have never ignored geography entirely.  The City of Parsons has two police beats, but it has many neighborhoods, commercial districts, and apartment complexes.

With place-based policing, however, the concern is with much smaller units of geography than the police have typically focused upon.  Places here refer to specific locations within the larger social environments of communities and neighborhoods, apartment complexes, schools, or business districts such as addresses, street blocks, or small clusters of addresses or street blocks.

Hot spots policing covers a range of police responses that all share in common a focus of resources on the locations where crime is highly concentrated.  The specific tactics police use to address high crime places varies.  There is not one way to implement hot spots policing.  The approaches can range rather dramatically across interventions.

The evidence base for hot spots policing is particularly strong. As the National Research Council (2004: 250) review of police effectiveness noted, "studies that focused police resources on crime hot spots provided the strongest collective evidence of police effectiveness that is now available."


What Should Police Be Doing at Crime Hot Spots?

  1. Increased police presence alone leads to some crime and disorder reduction. 
  2. Increasing risks for offenders or reducing the attractiveness of potential targets. Such approaches include things like:
    1. Increasing vehicle stops for traffic violations,
    2. Increasing arrests,
    3. Using saturation patrols,
    4. Instituting police foot patrols, and
    5. Using narcotics K9 units.
  3. Knock-n-Talk visits by police officers. This is not just to target suspected areas or homes or apartments that might be engaged in illegal drug use/sales, but also to provide residents with crime prevention information and resources.
  4. Parsons PD might initiate a 'Rat-on-a-Rat Program' which involved detectives paying informants for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of drug dealers and other felons in a hot spot location.

Other tactics include working with homeowners/renters as well as apartment complex owners to increase lighting especially in parking lots and around residences.

Using CCTV or devices such as Ring or Blink to deter criminal activity.

Apartment complexes can utilize a vehicle permit program for residents, limiting on-site visitor parking spaces and impounding vehicles that are not permitted.

Enforcing eviction action whenever leases are violated at rental homes or apartments.


Public Notice by Parsons Police

The police are not required to provide prior notice of a Hot Spot Policing project in the City. However, to enhance the transparency of a Hot Spot location, the police MAY:

  1. Provide a letter notifying a neighborhood of the Hot Spot Policing plan and might outline some of the tactics that could be employed.
  2. When possible, the police will try to meet with an apartment owner to outline issues and concerns while providing crime prevention tips for the apartment to follow.
    1. Many times, it might be the neighborhood and/or apartment complex owner that reaches out to the police for help.
  3. The police may use the news media and social media to highlight the policing efforts and to alert both residents and criminals alike of the policing presence.


Stomp Out Illegal Drug Sales


If you are suspicious or know of drug activity, please call the Parsons Police, and tell us about it right away. Several options are available to report drug activity. 


  1. Emergencies: Dial 911
  2. Non-emergencies: Dial our general services line: (620) 421-7060 / Emergency: 911
  3. Report anonymously by Email (in-progress events should always be immediately called in): tips@parsonspd.com
  4. You can also call our tip line at (620) 421-7057 (not for use to report in-progress crimes).


To learn more about the Kansas Combined Anti-Drug Task Force (K-CAT) which is a partnership between the Labette County Sheriff's Office, Parsons Police Department and the Labette County Attorney's Office visit: www.kcatlabette.com