Police patrols on London Underground platforms create 'phantom' crime-stopping effect

Mail Online | 1/16/2020 | Jonathan Chadwick For Mailonline
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Police patrols on platforms in the London Underground can reduce crime by up to a fifth - even on occasions when there are no officers actually around - a new study has shown.

A six-month-long experiment conducted by Cambridge University found that four 15-minute patrols a day in 57 of the capital’s most crime-ridden stations reduced crime and disorder by 21 per cent.

Study - Effectiveness - Police - Presence - Crime

But the study also shows the effectiveness of police presence to reduce crime when officers weren’t there.

In an phenomenon dubbed the ‘phantom effect’, reported crime was lower outside of the 15-minute periods, when officers weren't even patrolling the platforms.

Effect - Bursts - Police - Presence - Tube

This ‘phantom effect’ shows how beneficial even short bursts of police presence can have on the Tube – a practice that has not historically been enforced in the sprawling transport system’s 155-year history.

‘In the London Underground experiment we see a huge residual effect of brief appearances by patrolling officers after they leave,’ said Professor Lawrence Sherman at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology and co-author of the study.

Phantom - Effect - Crime - Declines - Offenders

‘This phantom effect suggests that crime declines when potential offenders are apprehensive about a possible police presence based on recent patrolling patterns –even when there are no police in the vicinity.

‘In London stations, it may be that more professional kinds of offenders are particularly sensitive to changes in police presence, such as pickpockets and distraction thieves.'

Cambridge - University - Researchers - Transport - Police

Cambridge University researchers worked with the British Transport Police to conduct the experiment over six months between 2011 and 2012, which has been detailed in Criminology.

The experiment involved more than 23,000 police personnel, who were randomly allocated to 57 of 115 tube stations where reported crime was highest.

Tube - Stations - Computer - Patrol - Plan

All of the 115 tube stations selected were randomly assigned, by computer, to either get the patrol plan, or not.

For example Oxford Circus, Earl's Court and Elephant & Castle...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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