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Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn't, What's Promising: A Report To the United States Congress

NCJ Number
Date Published
522 pages
An evaluation of the effectiveness of crime prevention programs concluded that some prevention programs work and some do not and that the effectiveness of United States Department of Justice (DOJ) funding for crime prevention depends heavily on whether it is directed to the urban neighborhoods where youth violence is highly concentrated.
The analysis considered more than 500 program impact evaluations. Results revealed that prevention programs vary in effectiveness, that some programs are promising, and some have not been tested adequately. In addition, substantial reductions in national rates of serious crime can be achieved only by prevention in areas of concentrated poverty, where the majority of all homicides occur, and where the homicide rates are 20 times the national average. The analysis also concluded that most crime prevention results from informal and formal practices and programs located in seven institutional settings: communities, families, schools, labor markets, specific premises, police, and criminal justice. Effective crime prevention in high-violence neighborhoods may require simultaneous interventions in many local institutions. However, the current statutory plan does not allow DOJ to provide effective guidance to the country about what works to prevent crime. Nevertheless, despite the current limitations, DOJ has already provided far better guidance to State and local governments on the effectiveness of all local crime prevention efforts than was available in the past. A revised statutory plan is recommended to enhance the DOJ role. Charts, chapter reference lists, and appended methodological information

Date Published: January 1, 1997