The Kansas City Gun Experiment.

Experiments are not the only research designs used to conduct research. There are other types of data-gathering strategies that can be used such as surveys, case studies, participant observation and unobtrusive measures. The most common type of unobtrusive measure is the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) where existing data collected and maintained by the FBI is used.

The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) is a part of UCR.

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This experiment undertaken by the Kansas City Police Department was based on the theory that gun seizures and gun crime are inversely proportional. According to this theory gun seizures increase with the decrease of gun crimes. In order to test this theory and to reduce gun crime in Kansas City the Police Department used the quasi experimental design. It ordered extra patrol attention on gun crime “hot spots”. They conducted a target beat for 29 weeks. Specific and varied techniques were used by officers to detect guns, illegal weapon owners and high-risk youths. In order to protect civil liberties all searches and frisks conducted had to conform to legal guidelines. All arrests made for carrying illegal weapons had to be approved by a supervisory detective. A University of Maryland evaluator accompanied the officers when they went out to gather information. The data gathered was then analyzed.

It was found that gun seizures in the target area increased by more than 65 percent and gun crimes declined by 49 percent whereas there was no significant change in areas not covered by the experiment. There was also a significant drop in homicides in target areas. The experiment also proved that the police can implement a program to increase seizures of illegal guns and that the productivity of Police officers increased when they were given the opportunity to focus only on gun detection in crime hot spots without being duty-bound to answer service calls.

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