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Reducing Crime and Drug Dealing by Improving Place Management: A Randomized Experiment

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1999
2 pages
Publication Series
Researchers in San Diego noted that drug dealers frequently rent in buildings with weak property management; to determine whether improved onsite management could be induced by police action and whether this would reduce crime, they conducted a randomized study of rental properties with drug dealing.
The researchers randomly assigned all residential rental properties where some form of police drug enforcement had occurred during a 6-month period (June-November 1993) to one of three groups: a control group and two test groups: "Drug Abatement Response Team (DART) letter only" and "letter plus DART meeting." Several types of data were obtained for each of the 121 properties involved in the study. Police records provided data on the individuals arrested during the enforcement action that triggered inclusion in the study; information on crime and drug events at the sites for 3 months prior to the original enforcement; crime and drug-event information for 3 months after the enforcement; crime and drug-event information for five 6-month periods after the enforcement; and a log of DART interactions with the property owners. Other data included owners' response to a telephone survey about their management practices and how they handled the tenant involved in the initial police action as well as a physical description of each site and its environment. At least 45 days after the drug enforcement action, members of the narcotics unit attempted to buy drugs at each site to determine whether drugs were still available. The research found that police action can improve the effectiveness of place managers and that such efforts can assist in solving community drug and crime problems.

Date Published: January 1, 1999