June 1, 2012
BACKGROUNDCriminal misuse of firearms is among the world's most serious crime problems. Strategies to reduce gun violence include efforts to restrict the manufacture and sale of firearms, interrupt the illegal supply of guns, deter gun possession, reduce gun carrying in public places, toughen responses to illegal gun use, reduce demand for firearms, promote responsible ownership of guns, and address community conditions that foster gun crime. In this review, we examine research on the effectiveness of selected law enforcement strategies for reducing gun crime and gun violence.OBJECTIVESThis review examines the impacts of police strategies to reduce illegal possession and carrying of firearms on gun crime. Examples include gun detection patrols in high-crime areas, enhanced surveillance of probationers and parolees, weapon reporting hotlines, consent searches, and other similar tactics.CRITERIA FOR INCLUSION OF STUDIESStudies using randomized designs or quasi-experimental designs involving a non-intervention condition were eligible for inclusion. Eligible studies had to include pre and post-intervention measurements of the outcome measure(s) for an intervention area(s) or group(s) and at least one comparison area or group without the intervention. However, we also included studies involving repeated interventions with one group or area in which the intervention and comparison units consisted of samples of time with and without the intervention. Eligible studies also had to measure gun-related crime (e.g., gun murders, shootings, gun robberies, gun assaults). The review does not include studies in which eligible interventions were implemented simultaneously with other new crime-reduction efforts.