The problem of zombie cops in voodoo criminology: arresting the police patrol 100 yard myth

Sutton, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-0780-0022 and Hodgson, P., 2013. The problem of zombie cops in voodoo criminology: arresting the police patrol 100 yard myth. Internet Journal of Criminology. ISSN 2045-6743

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The widely held criminological 'knowledge' that foot patrol beat policing is ineffective at either arresting offenders or reducing crime is substantially supported by research conducted by Clarke and Hough (1984), which makes the claim that: '...a patrolling policeman in London could expect to pass within 100 yards of a burglary in progress, roughly once every eight years but not necessarily catch the burglar or even realise that the crime was taking place.' This claim has been repeated, apparently unquestioningly, as though it is based upon veracious empirical research evidence from policing research in the field, in at least 45 publications, which include scholarly books, peer reviewed journal articles, research reports and police magazines. Clarke's and Hough's claim remains influential to the extent that it is effectively treated as 'criminological commonsense'. In fact, the claim is based upon a pencil and paper mathematical exercise involving three questionable premises. Two of these are disclosed and they are accompanied by a third, which we believe a reader might reasonably infer to be implicit. In this paper, we question all three assumptions and therefore question the veracity of its widespread use in supporting the accepted criminological wisdom about the predestined ineffectiveness of routine police foot patrol.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Internet Journal of Criminology
Creators: Sutton, M. and Hodgson, P.
Publisher: New University Press
Date: 4 February 2013
ISSN: 2045-6743
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 22 Feb 2017 10:44
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2017 08:59

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