Several models of policing innovations for drug law enforcement were tested in Oakland, CA and Birmingham, AL to determine their effectiveness in controlling street-level drug trafficking.
Police agencies in the two cities used special task forces and community policing techniques to identify and arrest drug traffickers, using funds received from the Bureau of Justice Assistance in 1987. The research examined these models' impact on the reduction of reported crimes as well as citizens' perceptions of their own safety and the extent of crime in their neighborhoods. At both sites, the evaluation used a pre-test, post-test, quasi-experimental design that gathered information in several police beats. Results revealed that in Oakland, the innovations affected citizen perceptions of drug trafficking, property crime, satisfaction with police services, and neighborhood safety. In addition, crimes reported to the police declined substantially in one area. In Birmingham, the innovations reduced crime after a 3-month time lag. Overall, the innovations also had major effects on citizen satisfaction with the police and perceptions of quality life and property crime.