Patrol is typically the largest function in police agencies around the world, and the majority of officers tend to be assigned to general service duties (Bayley, 1992). Patrol officers generally spend their time responding to emergency calls for service from the public, deterring crime through their presence, and carrying out special assignments from supervisors. In recent years, it has become increasingly recognized that police agencies can have a beneficial impact on crime and disorder (Lum, Koper, & Telep, 2011; National Research Council, 2004; Telep & Weisburd, 2012; Weisburd & Eck, 2004). Police patrol officers have likely played a major role in police efforts to effectively address crime as these officers make up a substantial portion of police resources and are on the front lines responding to crime and citizen concerns on a daily basis. An important question is the extent to which increased police presence through increased police patrols impact crime and disorder. If police can deter crime through their presence, does increasing the quantity of this presence help reduce crime and disorder? Being present, of course, is not the only activity patrol officers engage in, but it a major component of patrol and one that is important to examine systematically because agencies around the world devote such extensive resources to police patrol.
Telep, Cody W., David Weisburd, Sean Wire, and David Farrington. 2016. "Protocol: Increased Police Patrol Presence Effects on Crime and Disorder." The Campbell Collaboration (July): 1-35. http://www.campbellcollaboration.org/lib/project/275/