I came across La Vigne's essay recently in the Urban Institute publication: http://www.urban.org/urban-wire/rethinking-americas-wash-rinse-repeat-approach-policing. (Good stuff!)
A reporter recently asked me (I'm paraphrasing) why it mattered if risk terrain modeling (RTM) identified factors that some police already knew/suspected are risky. I suppose the same can be said of hotspot maps (i.e., they routinely point to the same areas that police already know are hot). Furthermore, though, she asked what police do with RTM results. In my mind, that was the insightful question, and should be the theme of a news story on crime prediction techniques. We should all be careful not to let current "traditions" or analysis methods be the default benchmark for evaluating answers to this reporter's important question (here some reasons why: http://www.jcaplan.com/forecasttips.html).
RTM fits into existing paradigms of policing. But, the concept of "risk" should really be the catalyst for changing the way police do policing. "Risk", and RTM as a tool for assessing spatial risks, helps police problem solve in ways that can be articulated and results can be measured. RTM helps to take the focus off of "crime" or hotspots-policing and on to risk-based policing. It helps steer police activities toward the underlying attractors of illegal behavior so police can do something about the physical places, not solely on the people located at places. RTM helps to diagnose crime problems and break the "wash, rinse, repeat" approach that La Vigne explains is so common in American policing.