College of Humanities and Social Sciences

David Weisburd, PhD

Distinguished Professor, Criminology, Law and Society

Faculty Directory

Research Focus

My basic research has identified the fact that crime is highly concentrated at micro geographic places like street segments. I call this the “law of crime concentration at places” because the concentration is fairly consistent across cities. In larger cities, about 1 percent of streets produce 25 percent of crime, and about 5 percent of streets produce 50 percent of crime. These crime concentrations, or crime hot spots, are relatively stable across time. This basic research has led to a series of field experiments that increase police presence at crime hots spots. These field experiments have provided strong evidence that hot spots policing can reduce crime, without displacing crime to nearby areas. My recent research has focused in particular on the characteristics of these crime hot spots, and how they differ from places with little crime. We have found that hot spots of crime are not just hot spots of crime, but places where many other problems are concentrated. In turn elements of opportunity are an important predictor of why streets are crime hot spots, but so are social factors such as collective efficacy.

Current Projects

■ Police Stops, Crime Prevention and Community Reaction: A Randomized Field Experiment at Violent Crime Hot Spots.

■ Increasing Collective Efficacy at Crime Hot Spots: A Patrol Force Approach in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

■ Community Health and Anti-social Behavior at Drug Hot Spots.

Select Publications

■ Weisburd, D., et al. (2012). The criminology of place: Street segments and our understanding of the crime problem. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

■ Weisburd, D. and White, C. (2020). Does collective efficacy matter at the microgeographic level?: Findings from a study of street segments. British Journal of Criminology.

■ Weisburd, D., et al. (2020). Building collective action at crime hot spots: Findings from a randomized field experiment. Journal of Experimental Criminology.

■ Weisburd, D., et al. (2018). Mean streets and mental health: depression and PTSD at crime hot spots. American Journal of Community Psychology, 61:285-295.



Phone: 301-318-2437