In 1990 the National Institute of Justice introduced the Drug Market Analysis (DMA) Program, which sought to develop strategies for countering street-level drug distribution and associated disorder problems as well as to encourage the use of geographic data in crime analysis. The DMA Program aimed to systematically evaluate policing strategies and programs to form a solid research base for targeting street-level drug markets. Jersey City, N.J., was one of five DMA demonstration sites. The program was developed to reduce drug-related activities in numerous identified hot spots around Jersey City.
The program was developed for implementation in drug hot spots. Research suggests that geographic-specific narcotic crime clustering in specific urban locations can be targeted by law enforcement (Sherman, Gartin, and Buerger 1989). These street-level drug markets can be identified by the computer mapping of existing police records, emergency narcotic-related calls for service, and local officer intelligence. In the Jersey City experiment, these hot spots varied in size and in the nature of drug market activity. Some street-level drug markets incorporate activities in local premises such as bars or restaurants, and require the cooperation of local government agencies in their monitoring and in the enforcement process. Larger sites may require a significant number of officers to intervene in crackdowns.
This intervention consisted of three stages. The first stage, known as the “planning stage”, involved assignment of specific hot spots to individual responsible officers. These officers gathered intelligence, met with local businesses and residents, identified the specific areas within the hot spot to target, and drew up case files on the main individuals involved in local illicit drug sales. In the second stage, the “implementation stage”, the officers in charge coordinated the drug abatement to close down the local street-drug markets. This was done through an intensive crackdown on the hot spots, which varied in size and show of force depending on the geographic specificities, and could include the participation of other local government agencies (e.g., licensing, sanitation, buildings). In the final stage, the “maintenance stage”, the officers responsible maintained the gains made during the crackdown by monitoring the activity, alerting police patrol to intensify surveillance if necessary, and in larger sites coordinated foot patrols.
Violence and Property Offenses
Weisburd and Green (1995) found no significant differences between the experimental and control locations for the Drug Market Analysis Program on the number of emergency calls for violence and property offenses.
Significant reductions were found for disorder-related emergency calls in some measures in the experimental hot spots. Calls for all measures of disorder increased on average by 9.14 in treatment hot spots, compared with an average of 25.39 in control hotspots. Significant differences were found for calls relating to suspicious persons (a decrease of 0.11 calls in treatment and an increase of 5.96 calls in control hotspots) and “public morals” (a decrease of 2.14 in treatment and an increase of 0.89 calls in control hot spots); however, no differences were found for nuisance or assistance calls.
While narcotics-related calls decreased in the experimental hot spots and grew slightly in the control locations, the presence of strong outliers in the treatment group made establishing the significance of these differences unreliable. On average, narcotics-related calls for service fell by 5.18 calls in treatment hot spots and grew by 0.18 calls in areas assigned to the control condition. The authors suggest that one of the effects of the intervention was to encourage local residents to report narcotic offenses, which likely affected this outcome measure.
Significant effects were found in calls for services in experimental hot spots catchment areas for some measures. Treatment catchment areas had significantly fewer “public morals” and narcotics-related calls for service than the control catchment areas. There were no other significant differences in other measures (i.e., violence, property, nuisance, suspicious persons, and assistance).