is widely used in reference to policing and law enforcement, although it is often used rather loosely.

Journalists, for example, commonly refer to almost any new police initiative as a crackdown.

Crackdowns can be classified along a few important dimensions.

The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment is a well-known example of a crackdown that emphasized police visibility only..

Most research suggests that simply adding more officers to an area without necessarily increasing levels of official action is unlikely to significantly reduce crime and disorder.3Intensive patrol around identified hot spots of crime and disorder, however, has been demonstrated to reduce crime and disorder at those hot spots.4 † Most crackdowns include high police visibility, but some do not, notably those in which undercover or plainclothes police are involved.

† You may need to make special efforts to inform potential offenders about the heightened risks of apprehension: do not assume they obtain or process information about police activity in the same way as the general public might.

One of the keys to effective deterrence in the Boston Gun Violence Project was how officials personally and persuasively told high-risk offenders about the new consequences for violent acts (Kennedy et al. [Full text] San Diego police were witnessing a full-blown crack epidemic on University Avenue .

For the purposes of this guide, a crackdown is generally defined as follows: 1 Crackdowns usually, but not necessarily, involve high police visibility and numerous arrests.

They may use undercover or plainclothes officers working with uniformed police, and may involve other official actions in addition to arrests.The crackdowns this guide covers are larger-scale special operations authorized at a policy-making level; they are not crackdowns undertaken by a single, beat-level officer.Police often use crackdowns in combination with other responses.†† In this experiment, the levels of uniformed patrols were varied to test their relative effect on reported crime and citizen perceptions, but patrol officers were not instructed to take any special enforcement actions (Kelling, et al. Some crackdowns require that officers suspend the usual discretion they apply to situations in favor of certain prescribed enforcement actions.For example, they might make custodial arrests where once they might have issued a citation and released the offender; they might issue a citation where once they might have released the offender with a warning; they might actively look for offenders with outstanding warrants where once they might have served warrants only when encountering offenders in the routine course of their duties; and so forth Other crackdowns encourage officers to use a broader range of tactics to address targeted problems, exercising full discretion and initiative.Several other terms are commonly used in connection with crackdowns, but their use is also often imprecise.