Findings and recommendations are presented from an evaluation of a California community anticrime consortium.
The LEAA grant for the anticrime consortium was awarded to the Community Congress Coalition and five of its member agencies for coordinated anticrime programs in eight target neighborhoods in San Diego County. Crime prevention programs were developed in the areas of block watches, target hardening, recreation development, access to social services, improved relations with the criminal justice system, dissemination of crime prevention literature, community resource development, and community revitalization projects. The evaluation methodology consisted of a preprogram and postprogram community survey to determine changes in citizen behavior vis-a-vis crime prevention and community development, along with the rate of crime victimization. Findings show that those neighborhoods with block watch programs experienced a significant decrease in residential burglaries and overall crime. It was shown that relatively low-budget community development projects using a small staff can facilitate substantial numbers of citizens to act on their own behalf. Community development programs were also found to increase significantly regular communication among neighbors. Further, it was found that neighborhood crime reduction can best be enhanced by organizing residents around specific issues rather than crime per se. Efforts to address or resolve problem areas identified by several neighborhoods can be improved through a collaborative multineighborhood policy and advocacy program. Recommendations encourage funding for block watch programs at all governmental levels, funding of consortium anticrime efforts among existing community agencies, community development efforts, participation of community residents in anticrime program design, advocacy programs, funding for anticrime program evaluation, and the development of networks of services at the local level. Appended are evaluations of particular projects. Tabular data are provided.
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