Reference: Pate, A. M., McPherson, M., & Silloway, G. (1987). The Minneapolis community crime prevention experiment: Draft evaluation report. Washington, DC: Police Foundation.
Strategy: Community-oriented policing- neighborhood watch
Z-axis: Highly Proactive
No effect of block watch on crime
Methodological Rigor: Rigorous- quasi-experiment with comparison group
Abstract: (from Baumann, 1992) The most recent of these implant experiments took place in Minneapolis in the early 1980s. In brief, professional organizers were hired by the city to identify neighborhoods ripe for organizing around issues and then plan and implement a program. Their efforts were carefully monitored. The program involved all of the grass-roots organizing efforts described above, plus the assignment of uniformed police officers to assist block groups in a random half of the treatment areas. Every household on every block in the program areas was contacted, and there was an average of four visits or mailings to each. The Minneapolis project, in effect, created an attractive opportunity structure for participation by neighborhood residents. People did turn out in substantial numbers, but only in better-off target areas. The lack of any response by residents of poor and minority areas led organizers to increase their efforts, but there still was virtually no response.
(description from Skogan, 1988) Block meetings encouraged residents to increase the use of physical security measures, participate in block surveillance activities, and integrate socially within the block, as well as improve cooperation with the police. Program staff believed these activities would reduce both burglary and the fear of crime. A matched control community was selected and compared with the experimental area on variables pertaining to burglary and the fear of crime. Police data on reported residential burglaries were obtained for control and experimental census tracts for years before and after program implementation (April 1977 through June 1978 and September 1979 through December 1980). Thirty-one completed self-administered questionnaires were submitted by residents of the control area, and residents of the experimental area submitted 41 questionnaires which solicited residents' participation in crime prevention activities, their fear of crime, and cooperation with police and other residents. There is no evidence the program reduced burglary, although this may have been due to methodological weaknesses. Apparently the program improved block surveillance, integration with neighbors, and the use of physical security measures among program participants, although the content and methodology for studying these variables need improvement. Implications are examined for future research methodology and criminal justice policy.