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Place, People, Police

Place, People, Police: The Effects of Place-Centric Crime Reduction Efforts in Three Neighborhoods

If police, community organizations, neighborhood residents, and businesses cooperate with one another to solve public safety problems, they can accomplish substantial and durable reductions in crime. In this paper, we present and analyze three examples of successful, cooperative crime prevention efforts supported by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), finding as much as a 41 percent decline in crime incidents compared to what they would have been without our coordinated, multi-sector strategy.

LISC employs place-centric crime reduction to help police, community developers, partner city agencies, community organizations, and resident leaders work through the public safety challenges posed by a difficult physical and social environment. The work is place-centric because this environment varies considerably from place to place within and across communities. Efforts to reduce crime–through prevention or enforcement–must be customized accordingly.

In the places we selected to study the effects of this work, these efforts indeed led to reductions in crime. We know this because we analyzed the number of crimes on individual street segments within our community focus areas before, during, and after these initiatives and compared them to segments outside these areas. In the two communities where circumstances permitted, our analysis examined crime levels compared to what they would have been otherwise using a technique known as negative binomial regression. In the third community, simple inspection of crime trends showed sharp reductions compared to surrounding areas.

Reductions in crime have taken place in other communities using traditional policing methods, but we believe that a combination of physical renewal, social capital formation, and problem-oriented community policing is a particularly good way to create durably safe communities. Continued[+]...

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