Evaluation of Crime Control Programs
bookposted on 2007-05-30, 00:00 authored by Michael D. Maltz
Among the issues discussed in the monograph are the relationship between the agency and the evaluator, crime displacement, crime data, measures of effectiveness, and conduct of the evaluation. A review of these issues is instructive. • Issues related to the relationship between the evaluator and practitioner still are there, but to a much lesser extent. There was little incentive for (and to some extent, little stomach for) experimentation in police departments in the 1970s, and it took a courageous police chief to start the process, as Clarence Kelley did with the now-famous Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment. Nowadays most police administrators–especially in larger cities–are accustomed to having researchers in their agencies; in fact, many of them (and most of their staff) have advanced degrees and/or have conducted similar research themselves. • Issues related to displacement are still important. Moreover, their importance may have increased over the years, because we now have the tools–in the form of geographical information systems–that can provide graphic representations of the impact of a program on moving crime from one location to another. • We still have problems with crime data. Although the National Crime Victimization Survey now supplements the Uniform Crime Reporting System, the NCVS cannot be used to evaluate local programs, forcing reliance on the UCR with all its faults. The slow development of the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which will replace the UCR, means that this will continue to be the case for years to come. • The dominant measure of effectiveness is still the crime rate, but much work has been done in the development of fear of crime as an additional indicator. Use of the Crime Seriousness Index has fallen off, but more complex "quality of life" criteria have been added to the evaluation equation. In any event, this monograph (for those who find their way to this web site) can serve as a benchmark of the progress we have made in evaluating crime control programs since the early 1970s.