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Why Getting Inside the "Black Box" Is Important: Examining Treatment Implementation and Outputs in Policing Experiments

NCJ Number
Police Quarterly Volume: 20 Issue: 1 Dated: 2017 Pages: 106-132
Date Published
33 pages
This article presents findings from a randomized, experimental evaluation of "broken windows" policing at hotspots in three California cities.

The study hypothesized that the causes of the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of police interventions can be better understood with an increased focus on the measurement of treatment implementation and outputs, in contrast to the more common "black box" conceptualizations of police interventions and outcome-only evaluations used in most experimental studies. The analysis suggests that variation in the treatment delivered to target street segments within and between cities limited the ability of the study to detect potential treatment impacts and was due in part to the failure of the police agencies to take ownership of the science of the intervention. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2017