Targeted policing is good for public health

November 15, 2001

N.B. Please note that if you are outside North America the embargo for Lancet Press material is 0001 hours UK time Friday 16th November 2001.

A public-health article in this week's issue of THE LANCET proposes that an understanding of policing and the criminal justice system-especially the concept of deterrence-is integral to the implementation of effective public-health strategies worldwide.

Jonathan Sheperd from the University of Wales, Cardiff, UK, discusses how deterrence is an established theme in criminal justice, but comments on how its role in prevention of assault has been treated with ambivalence-and hostility-in medicine. The article also states how a new development in medicine has been the study of the effectiveness of criminal laws by epidemiologists; the introduction of laws requiring gun owners to keep firearms locked away, for example, has been shown to cause reductions in accidental deaths of children. Similarly, evaluation of state laws that restrict handgun purchase has demonstrated reductions in violent offences.

Jonathan Shepherd concludes: "The extent to which offenders can be persuaded, through knowledge of criminal and health risks, not to injure others is emerging from studies of the health effects of firearm and other crime legislation, and from macro-level studies and controlled experiments of police interventions. There is convincing evidence that motorists can be deterred from alcohol-impaired driving, and recognition that specific, targeted, and visible police work and increasing certainty of punishment are effective interventions. By contrast, duration of imprisonment and generic police initiatives such as blanket increases in police numbers seem to have little effect on deterrence, at least in the context of the decline in US homicide rates since 1991, to which demographic and economic factors seem to have contributed little. Together with established and cost-effective preschool education and early family support, targeted policing and increasing rates of conviction should be integrated into strategies for injury prevention."
Contact: Professor Jonathan P Shepherd, Department of Oral Surgery, Medicine, and Pathology, University of Wales College of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XY, UK; T/F) +44 (0)2920 742442; E)


Related Medicine Articles from Brightsurf:

An ultrasonic projector for medicine
A chip-based technology that modulates intensive sound pressure profiles with high resolution opens up new possibilities for ultrasound therapy.

A new discovery in regenerative medicine
An international collaboration involving Monash University and Duke-NUS researchers have made an unexpected world-first stem cell discovery that may lead to new treatments for placenta complications during pregnancy.

How dinosaur research can help medicine
The intervertebral discs connect the vertebrae and give the spine its mobility.

Graduates of family medicine residencies are likely to enter and remain in family medicine
This study provides an overview of the characteristics of physicians who completed family medicine residency training from 1994 to 2017.

Nuclear medicine and COVID-19: New content from The Journal of Nuclear Medicine
In one of five new COVID-19-related articles and commentaries published in the June issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, Johnese Spisso discusses how the UCLA Hospital System has dealt with the pandemic.

Moving beyond 'defensive medicine'
Study shows removing liability concerns slightly increases C-section procedures during childbirth.

NUS Medicine researchers can reprogramme cells to original state for regenerative medicine
Scientists from NUS Medicine have found a way to induce totipotency in embryonic cells that have already matured into pluripotency.

Protein injections in medicine
One day, medical compounds could be introduced into cells with the help of bacterial toxins.

Study reveals complementary medicine use remains hidden to conventional medicine providers
Research reveals that 1 in 3 complementary medicine (CM) users do not disclose their CM use to their medical providers, posing significant direct and indirect risks of adverse effects and harm due to unsafe concurrent use of CM and conventional medicine use.

Study of traditional medicine finds high use in Sub-Saharan Africa despite modern medicine
Researchers who have undertaken the first systematic review of into the use of traditional, complementary and alternative medicines (TCAM) in Sub-Saharan Africa found its use is significant and not just because of a lack of resources or access to 'conventional medicine'.

Read More: Medicine News and Medicine Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to