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1 Lawrence W. Sherman, et al., The Kansas City Gun Experiment 1 (1995)

handle is hein.agopinions/kscityex0001 and id is 1 raw text is: 
UIS. Department of Justice
Offi(c of Jus1'ti(c Programsl '


Jeremy Travis, Director                                                                                     January 1995


Issues and Findings

Discussed in this Brief: An evalu-
ation of a police patrol project to
reduce gun violence, driveby
shootings, and homicides in a pa-
trol beat where the homicide rate
was20 times higher than the na-
tional average.

Key issues: Gun crime is rising
rapidly nationwide, while other
types of crime are falling. The need
for strategiesto control gun crime
is critical. If police could get more
guns off the street, would there be
fewer gun crimes? This was the
question posed by the Kansas City
program.

Key findings: The results of the
evaluation indicate that directed
police patrols in gun crime hot
spots can reduce gun crimes by
increasing the seizures of illegally
carried guns. Specific findings
include:

* Gun seizures by police in the
target area increased by more than
65 percent, while gun crimes de-
clined in the target area by 49 per-
cent (see exhibit 1).

* Neither gun crimes nor guns
seized changed significantly in a
si lar beat several miles away,
where the directed patrol was not
used.

* There was no measurable dis-
placement of gun crimes to patrol
beats surrounding the target area.


The Kansas City Gun Experiment

by Lawrence W. Sherman, hmes W. S7aw, and Dennis P. Fogan


Handgun crime is increasing rapidly
throughout the Nation,' especially in
inner-city areas where youth homicide
rates have skyrocketed.2 While some
scholars argue that more gun carrying by
law-abiding citizens may be the best de-
terrent to gun violence,3 others find little
evidence to support that view4 but much
more evidence that increases in gun
availability produce increases in gun ho-
micides.5 Still others argue that it is not
the total number of guns in circulation
that increases gun violence, but the car-
rying of guns in high-risk places at high-


risk times.' This argument suggests the hy-
pothesis that greater enforcement of exist-
ing laws against carrying concealed
weapons could reduce gun crime. But this
hypothesis had never been tested until the
Kansas City gun experiment

The experiment developed out of the first
Federal grant awarded under the Bureau of
Justice Assistance (BJA) Weed and Seed
program in 1991. The Kansas City (Mis-
souri) Police Department (KCPD) was
given wide latitude in planning its Weed
and Seed strategy. Shortly after the BJA


Exhibit 1: Firearm Offenses/Guns Seized Per 1,000 Persons


Before Patrols


During Patrols


Before Patrols


During Patrols


continued p. 2


37.0

       -.- ..... ....-........
                 Target Beat                    Comparison Beat


   Gun Crimes                             2 .                     23.6
                     \     18.9          22.6      Gun Crimes



                           16.8
                 GunsSeized                 10.4

  9.9                                              GunsSeized     8.8

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