Problem-Specific Guides

Abandoned Vehicles
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), September 2008. This guide begins by describing the problem of abandoned vehicles and reviewing factors that increase its risks. It then identifies a series of questions to help you analyze your local abandoned-vehicle problem. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem, and what is known about them from evaluative research and police practice.

Acquaintance Rape of College Students
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), July 2006. Rape is one of the most common violent crimes on American college campuses today. This guide describes the problem of acquaintance rape of college students, addressing its scope, causes, and contributing factors; methods for analyzing it on a particular campus; tested responses; and measures for assessing response effectiveness. With this information, police and campus public safety officers can more effectively prevent the problem.

Assaults In and Around Bars, 2nd Edition
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), September 2006. This problem oriented guide for police outlines the link between alcohol and violence according to physiological, social, and situational effects intending to assist law enforcement in preventing and improving the overall response to assaults in and around bars. The guide begins by reviewing factors that increase the risks of assaults in and around bars. It then identifies a series of questions that might assist law enforcement in analyzing their local problem of assaults in and around bars. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem and what is known about these from evaluative research and police practice (2nd Edition).

Asset Forfeiture
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), March 2009. This guide reviews the application of asset forfeiture to specific crime problems, examines the legal arrangements for its use, discusses the benefits and consequences to its use, and provides recommendations for launching an asset forfeiture program.

Bank Robbery
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), April 2007. Bank robberies are relatively uncommon: only about 2 of every 100 robberies are of a bank. Although violence is rare, employees and customers are at some risk of injury. If nothing else, being victimized can be terrifying. In addition, bank robberies can invoke fear in the community at large, as most are well-covered by the media. Because of the potential for violence, police always respond quickly to a bank robbery in progress. This guide begins by describing the problem of bank robbery and reviewing the factors that increase its risks. It then identifies a series of questions to help local law enforcement analyze their local bank robbery problem. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem of bank robbery as identified through research and police practice.

Bicycle Theft
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), September 2008. This guide addresses bicycle theft, beginning by describing the problem and reviewing the factors that contribute to it. It then identifies a series of questions to help you analyze your local bicycle theft problem. Finally, it reviews responses to bicycle theft and describes the findings of evaluative research and operational policing.

Bomb Threats in Schools
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), July 2006. This guide addresses the problem of bomb threats in schools, public or private, kindergarten through 12th grade. The guide reviews the factors that increase the risk of bomb threats in schools and then identifies a series of questions that might assist law enforcement in analyzing their local problem. Finally, the guide reviews responses to the problem and what is known about these from evaluative research and police practice.

Bullying in Schools
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), June 2009. There is always concern about school violence, and police have assumed greater responsibility for helping school officials ensure students’ safety. As pressure increases to place officers in schools, police agencies must decide how best to contribute to student safety. This guide provides police with information about the causes and extent of bullying in schools and recommendations for developing effective approaches and practices that contribute to student safety.

Burglary at Single Family House Construction Sites
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), September 2006. This problem oriented guide for police focuses on burglary of building materials, tools, appliances, and small equipment from single-family house construction sites. Understanding the factors that contribute to the problem of single-family house construction site burglary will help law enforcement to frame their local analysis, determine good effective measures, recognize key intervention points and select appropriate responses.

Burglary of Retail Establishments
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), July 2006. This problem-oriented guide for police reviews what is known about retail burglaries, suggests ways to analyze them in local jurisdictions, and provides guidance on appropriate responses. It addresses establishments including shops in downtown areas, strip malls, covered malls (or “shopping precincts,” as they are known in the United Kingdom), and retail parks. It also addresses stand-alone superstores, neighborhood stores, and rural stores, as well as restaurants, beauty parlors, and off-track betting establishments.

Burglary of Single Family Houses
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), August 2004. Burglary causes substantial financial loss and often serious psychological harm to the victims. This problem-oriented guide for police focuses on burglary of single-family houses, primarily owner-occupied and detached. It begins by describing the problem and reviewing risk factors and identifies a series of questions to help law enforcement analyze their local problem. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem of burglary of single-family houses and what is known about them from evaluative research and police practice.

Check and Card Fraud
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), August 2004. This problem-oriented guide for police covers fraud involving all types of checks and plastic cards, including debit, charge, credit, and "smart" cards. Each can involve a different payment method. It then identifies a series of questions to help agencies analyze their local problem. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem, and what is known about them from evaluative research and police practice.

Child Pornography on the Internet
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), May 2006. As the use of computers in our society has increased, so too has the issue of Internet child pornography crimes. Therefore, it is important that law enforcement agencies develop strategies for dealing with this problem. This problem-oriented guide for police describes the problem and reviews the factors that increase the risks of Internet child pornography. It then identifies a series of questions that may assist in the analysis of the problem and reviews responses based on evaluative research and police practice.

Clandestine Methamphetamine Labs, 2nd Edition
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), August 2006. This problem-oriented guide for police addresses the problem of clandestine drug labs. Offenders manufacture a variety of illicit drugs in such labs with methamphetamine accounting for 80 to 90 percent of the labs total drug production. Accordingly, the problem of clandestine drug labs is closely tied with the problems associated with methamphetamine abuse. This guide is an essential tool for law enforcement to help analyze and develop responses to their local clandestine methamphetamine lab problem (2nd Edition).

Crimes Against Tourists
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), July 2004. This problem-oriented guide for police addresses tourist crime, beginning by describing the problem and reviewing the factors that contribute to it. It then identifies a series of questions to help law enforcement analyze their local problem and a number of measures that can be taken to address the problem. Although the guide addresses tourist crime in the United States, the information provided may also benefit those readers dealing with the problem abroad.

Cruising
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), January 2005. Cruising is a pastime largely confined to downtown areas, often referred to as "unnecessary repetitive driving." This guide provides a general discussion of the problem of cruising and reviews the factors that contribute to it. The guide also identifies questions law enforcement should ask when dealing with a cruising problem, proposes numerous responses to the problem, and identifies ways to measure the effectiveness of responses to the problem.

Disorder at Budget Motels
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), February 2005. In many communities, certain motels generate a significant number of service calls and consume inordinate levels of police resources. Problem motels are frequent hot spots for both nuisance activity and more serious incidents. They can also inhibit nearby economic redevelopment and reduce the number of safe, clean lodging units available to travelers. This guide describes the problem of disorder at budget motels and reviews the factors that contribute to it. It then identifies a series of questions to help law enforcement analyze their local problem and reviews responses to the problem.

Disorder at Day Laborer Sites
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), January 2007. Disorder at day laborer sites is but one aspect of the larger set of problems related to both public disorder and to illegal immigration. The literature on day laborers provides a general picture of the market for them, the conditions of day-labor work, the laborers themselves, their employers, the places where they assemble, and the link between day laborers and human smuggling. This guide will help law enforcement understand the factors that contribute to their local problem in order to frame analysis questions, identify valid effectiveness measures, determine important intervention points, and select an appropriate set of responses for their specific problem.

Disorderly Youth in Public Places
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), July 2006. Disorderly youth in public places constitute one of the most common problems facing many police agencies. This problem-oriented guide for police provides a general discussion of the problem of disorderly youth in public places and reviews the factors that contribute to it. The guide also identifies questions to ask when dealing with a disorderly youth problem, proposes numerous responses to the problem, and identifies ways to measure the effectiveness of responses to the problem.

Domestic Violence
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), February 2007. Domestic disputes are some of the most common calls for police service. Many domestic disputes do not involve violence; this guide discusses those that do, as well as the measures that can be used to reduce them. In the United States, domestic violence accounts for about 20 percent of the nonfatal violent crime women experience and 3 percent of the nonfatal violent crime men experience. This is an essential tool for law enforcement to help analyze and respond to their local problem.

Drive-By Shootings
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), April 2007. Drive-by shootings are but one aspect of the larger set of problems related to gang and gun violence. This guide addresses the particular harms drive-by shootings cause by describing the problem of drive-by shootings and reviewing factors that increase its risks. It then identifies a series of questions to help law enforcement analyze their local drive-by shootings problem. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem and what is known about them from evaluative research and police practice.

Drug Dealing in Open-Air Markets
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), August 2006. Open-air markets represent the lowest level of the drug distribution network. Low-level markets need to be tackled effectively to reduce the harms that illicit drug use can inflict on the local community. This guide describes the problem and reviews the factors that increase the risks of drug dealing in open-air markets. The guide then identifies a series of questions that might assist agencies in analyzing their local problem and reviews responses to the problem and what is known about these from evaluative research and police practice.

Drug Dealing in Privately Owned Apartment Complexes
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), August 2006. This problem-oriented guide for police focuses on drug dealing in privately owned apartment complexes. It clearly distinguishes between open- and closed-drug markets, provides information on what is known about each market type, and offers questions to ask when analyzing each market. It also proposes various responses designed to closed-drug markets and provides a full range of problem-specific measures to determine the effectiveness of those responses.

Drunk Driving
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), February 2006. Alcohol impairment is the primary factor in traffic fatalities in the United States and drunk driving is among the most common types of arrest made by police. This problem-specific guide for police begins by describing the problem of drunk driving and reviews the factors that increase its risks. It then identifies a series of questions that can help law enforcement analyze their local drunk driving problem. Finally, it provides an overview of responses to the problem of drunk driving and examines what is known about the effectiveness of these responses from research and police practice.

Exploitation of Trafficked Women
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), March 2006. This guide describes the problem of exploiting women who have been trafficked into the United States and the aspects of human trafficking that contribute to it. Additionally, the guide focuses on the final period in the process of trafficking at which women are further exploited by those into whose hands they are passed. The guide identifies a series of questions that can help law enforcement analyze their local problems related to trafficking of women. Finally, it reviews responses to the exploitation of trafficked women and examines what is known about the effectiveness of these responses from research and police practice.

False Burglar Alarms, 2nd Edition
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), August 2007. In the United States, false alarms account for 10 to 25 percent of all calls to the police. In this problem-oriented guide for police, author Rana Sampson explores the problem of false burglar alarms and presents alternative strategies to address the false alarm dilemma. The guide begins by reviewing the factors that increase the risk of false burglar alarms. It then identifies a series of questions that might assist law enforcement address their local problem of false burglar alarms. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem and what is known about them from evaluative research and police practice. (2nd Edition)

Financial Crimes Against the Elderly
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), August 2004. Financial crimes against the elderly fall under two general categories: fraud committed by strangers, and financial exploitation by relatives and caregivers. This guide addresses the problem of financial crimes against the elderly and helps law enforcement analyze their local problem. It reviews responses to the problem and describes the conditions in which they are most effective.

Graffiti
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), June 2009. This problem-oriented guide for police addresses effective responses to the problem of graffiti – the wide range of markings, etchings, and paintings that deface public or private property. In recent decades, graffiti has become an extensive problem, spreading from the largest cities to other locales. This guide provides law enforcement with a series of questions to consider when analyzing their local graffiti problem and reviews responses to the problem based on evaluative research and police practice.

Gun Violence Among Serious Young Offenders
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), May 2007. While gun violence among young offenders seems to pervade our society, it is remarkably clustered among high-risk people, in high-risk places, at high-risk times. This concentration of violence provides an important opportunity for police to strategically address a seemingly intractable problem. This guide identifies a series of questions to help law enforcement analyze their local problem and reviews responses to the problem and what is known about them from evaluative research and police practice.

Identity Theft
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), June 2004. Identity theft is a relatively new crime, facilitated through established, underlying crimes such as forgery, counterfeiting, check and credit card fraud, computer fraud, impersonation, pick pocketing, and even terrorism. This guide describes the problem of identity theft and reviews factors that increase the risks of it. It is intended to help law enforcement analyze and develop effective responses to their local problem.

Illicit Sexual Activity in Public Places
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), April 2005. There are widely different perspectives on public sexual activity. Some do not believe the behavior constitutes a public safety threat; some view the behavior as a "victimless crime" involving two consenting partners; and some see the behavior as a threat to the community's "moral decency." This guide is intended to inform law enforcement about the effectiveness and consequences of various approaches to controlling public sexual activity.

Improving Street Lighting to Reduce Crime in Residential Areas
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), March 2009. This guide reviews the use of street lighting to help reduce crime in residential areas, discusses the factors to examine when considering upgrading or improving street lighting, and recommends steps to take when implementing a street lighting improvement plan. It explains why improved street lighting can help reduce fear of crime, summarizes the literature on the effectiveness of better lighting, and suggests measures that can be used to assess the effectiveness of lighting solutions that have been implemented.

Juvenile Runaways
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), March 2006. Police encounter juveniles for many reasons related to their running away from home. This guide begins by describing the problem of juvenile runaways and reviewing its risk factors. It then identifies a series of questions to help law enforcement analyze their local juvenile runaway problem. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem and what is known about them from evaluative research and police practice.

Loud Car Stereos
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), May 2002. This guide addresses the problem of loud car stereos, one of the most common sources of noise complaints in many jurisdictions. Police are concerned about loud car stereos for two main reasons: 1) they can be a public disturbance, and 2) they inhibit drivers' ability to hear emergency signals on the road. This guide will help law enforcement analyze their local problem. It also reviews responses to the problem of loud car stereos and what is known about these from evaluative research and police practice.

Misuse and Abuse of 911
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), August 2002. This problem-oriented guide for police addresses the urgent problems of misuse and abuse of 911. It leads law enforcement professionals through a series of questions to assist them with analyzing their local problem and provides a summary of responses to the problem of 911 misuse and abuse based on policing principles and new technological development. This guide also suggests evaluative measures for implemented responses.

Panhandling
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), September 2003. This problem-oriented guide for police addresses the problem of panhandling. It also covers nearly equivalent conduct in which, in exchange for donations, people perform nominal labor such as cleaning the windshields of cars stopped in traffic, holding car doors open, saving parking spaces, guarding parked cars, buying subway tokens, and carrying luggage or groceries. This guide will help law enforcement understand the factors that contribute to their local panhandling problems and develop effective responses.

Pedestrian Injuries and Fatalities
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), November 2007. In 2003, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that approximately 4,700 pedestrians were killed and another 70,000 injured due to pedestrian-vehicle crashes. On average, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic collision every 113 minutes and injured every eight minutes. This problem-oriented guide for police by Justin A. Heinonen and John E. Eck examines the problem of pedestrian-vehicle crashes resulting in injuries and fatalities. It then provides a series of questions to help law enforcement analyze their local pedestrian injury and fatality problem. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem and what is known about them from evaluative research and police practice.

People with Mental Illness
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), May 2006. Law enforcement officers encounter people with mental illness in many different types of situations, in roles that include criminal offenders, disorderly persons, missing persons, complainants, victims and persons in need of care. This guide is an essential tool for local law enforcement to analyze their local problem associated with people with mental illness and reviews responses to these problems based on evaluative research and police practice.

Prescription Fraud
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), July 2006. Prescription fraud is a significantly growing problem for many law enforcement agencies. This problem-oriented guide for police begins by describing the problem of prescription fraud and reviewing factors that contribute to it. It also identifies a series of questions that might assist agencies in analyzing their local problem. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem and what is known about these from evaluative research and police practice.

Rave Parties
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), August 2004. This problem-oriented guide for police addresses the problems associated with rave parties. Rave parties – or, more simply, raves – are dance parties that feature fast-paced, repetitive electronic music and accompanying light shows. Raves are the focus of a youth-oriented subculture that blends music, art, and social ideals (e.g., peace, love, unity, respect, tolerance, happiness). The rave culture also entails the use of a range of licit and illicit drugs. This guide is an essential tool for law enforcement in developing responses to their local rave party problem.

Robbery at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), August 2006. This guide addresses the robberies of people using automated teller machines (ATM) and night cash depositories. It includes a description of the problem and reviews factors that increase the risks of ATM robbery. The guide also includes a series of questions designed to help analyze any local ATM robbery problem. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem and what evaluative research and police practices have shown about them.

Robbery of Convenience Stores
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), May 2007. Convenience store robberies account for approximately 6 percent of all robberies known to the police. Although this comprises a relatively small percentage of total robberies, the problem is persistent. Convenience store employees suffer from high rates of workplace homicide, second only to taxicab drivers. To assist law enforcement offers in addressing this problem, this guide begins by describing the problem of convenience store robbery and reviewing factors that increase its risk. It then identifies a series of questions to help analyze their local convenience store robbery problem. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem and what is known about these from evaluative research and police practice.

Robbery of Taxi Drivers
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), April 2005. One of the biggest barriers to understanding the problem of taxi driver robbery is the lack of data specifically collected on this crime. This problem-oriented guide for police describes the problem and reviews the factors that increase the risks of robbery of taxi drivers. It then identifies a series of questions to assist law enforcement in analyzing their local taxi robbery problem.

School Vandalism and Break-Ins
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), August 2005. The term school vandalism refers to willful or malicious damage to school grounds and buildings or furnishings and equipment. This guide describes the problem and reviews the risk factors of school vandalism and break-ins. It also reviews the associated problems of school burglaries and arson. The guide then identifies a series of questions to help law enforcement analyze their local problem. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem, and what is known about them from evaluative research and police practice.

Shoplifting
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), July 2007. This problem-oriented guide for police discusses measures to reduce shoplifting. It focuses mainly on the typical shoplifting method of concealing items in clothing or bags, and distinguishes between casual, opportunistic shoplifting, and shoplifting by more experienced professionals. The guide reviews factors that may increase the risks of shoplifting. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem and what is known about them from evaluative research and police practice.

Spectator Violence in Stadiums
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), September 2008. There are over 360 stadiums and arenas in the U.S., and while some share similar features, each is unique. Policing crowds in stadiums is a difficult task as police are often forced to balance the interests of many different parties (e.g., performers who want audience participation, owners and vendors who wish to generate profits). This guide addresses the problem of spectator violence in stadiums and other arena-type settings. It begins with a discussion of the factors that contribute to such incidents. It then presents a list of questions to help local law enforcement analyze problems of spectator violence in their jurisdiction. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem and what is known about them from evaluative research and police practice.

Speeding in Residential Areas
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), August 2007. This problem-oriented guide for police provides a general discussion on the problem of residential speeding. Topics covered include an overview of common beliefs, attitudes about speeding, and the factors that contribute to it. It identifies questions for law enforcement to consider when dealing with a residential speeding problem, proposes numerous responses to the problem, and identifies ways to measure the effectiveness of responses to the problem.

Stalking
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), March 2006. Stalking creates uncertainty, instills fear and can completely disrupt lives. This guide reviews the problem of stalking and the factors that contribute to it. It identifies a series of questions to help law enforcement analyze their local problem. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem of stalking and what is known about them from evaluative research and police practice.

Street Prostitution, 2nd Edition
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), November 2006. Focusing on the problem of female street prostitutes, this guide provides practitioners with information regarding prostitutes, their clients, and pimps and panderers as well as explaining the transaction, the environment associated with the problem, and describes the linkage between prostitution and drugs. The guide provides questions to ask when dealing with the problem of street prostitution, identifies potential responses to the problem and proposes measures to assess the effectiveness of response approaches (2nd Edition).

Street Racing
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), December 2004. Street racing typically involves a younger crowd that conducts its activities in an underground fashion to avoid police attention and presents significant risks of serious personal injury. This guide provides a general discussion of the problem of street racing and reviews the factors that contribute to it. The guide also identifies questions law enforcment can ask when dealing with a street racing problem, proposes numerous responses to the problem, and identifies ways to measure the effectiveness of responses to the problem.

Student Party Riots
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), April 2006. Alcohol-related riots among university students pose a significant problem for police agencies that serve college communities. This guide provides a framework for understanding student gatherings. The framework can be used to investigate the local problem of student party riots and to develop proactive strategies to reduce the potential for student violence. This guide also summarizes interventions used to control past disturbances.

Thefts of and from Cars in Parking Facilities
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), January 2002. This guide summarizes information on risk factors and evaluates published literature on dealing with such thefts in parking facilities. It also identifies information police should collect to understand and respond effectively to their local problem. The guide covers both thefts of and thefts from cars in parking facilities. Each category of theft covers a wide range of offenses committed by different groups of offenders with different motivations. This guide will help law enforcement analyze and develop responses to their local problem.

Thefts of and from Cars in Residential Streets and Driveways
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), March 2007. Theft of and from cars in residential neighborhoods is only one of a number of vehicle-related problems that occur in residential neighborhoods that the police must address. This guide begins by describing the problem of theft of and from cars in residential neighborhoods and by reviewing factors that increase its risks. It then identifies a series of questions to help you analyze your local problem. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem and what is known about these from evaluative research and police practice.

Traffic Congestion Around Schools
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), September 2007. This problem-oriented guide for police addresses school-related traffic congestion, as defined as the overcrowding and blocking of streets on or near school property that is typically associated with car transportation of children to and from school. This guide is written for police, not because they are the biggest stakeholders in solving traffic congestion problems, but because they are often one of the first to be called when traffic congestion develops around schools. Police are more likely to be contacted only after tensions have developed among residents, school staff, and parents over responsibility for congestion. Police are in a unique position to serve as mediator between these groups, helping them to seek common ground in developing and implementing effective solutions and ultimately making their jobs easier by reducing the number of calls for service generated by congestion, and the traffic violations and traffic safety issues that often accompany it.

Underage Drinking
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), August 2006. Underage drinkers experience a wide range of alcohol-related health, social, criminal justice, and academic problems. This guide identifies a series of questions that might assist law enforcement in analyzing their local problem. It also reviews responses to the problem and what is known about these from evaluative research and police practice.

Witness Intimidation
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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), September 2006. Witness intimidation is but one aspect of the larger set of problems related to protecting crime victims and witnesses from future harms. This guide focuses on the issues and responses that are most relevant to police, although useful resources for prosecutors are highlighted where appropriate.