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Community Policing in Chicago, Years Eight and Nine: An Evaluation of Chicago's Alternative Policing Strategy and Information Technology Initiative

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2003
171 pages
This document presents an evaluation of Chicago’s community policing program from November 2000 to the present.
This is the seventh evaluation report offered for Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS), which began as a pilot project in five police districts in April 1993 and has since expanded to incorporate the entire city. The evaluation examines crime trends, trends in neighborhood problems, public views of the police, citizen involvement in policing activities, the problem solving capacity of CAPS, the management accountability of the program, and the new information technology for the program. The section on trends in crime reveals that since 1991, crime as decreased in nearly all areas of the city, but has decreased but markedly in African-American communities. The area with the least improvement is Chicago’s murder rate, which has declined more slowly than it has for the rest of the Nation. The next section analyzes trends in neighborhood problems. Findings show that between 1994 and 2001, neighborhood residents reported no perceived improvement in the physical condition of the city’s neighborhoods. However, within the African-American community, residents reported less concern about physical dilapidation and other forms of disorder. The next section analyzes public views of the police. Findings indicate that public opinion changed from not very positive toward the police before CAPS to views of the police as polite and helpful after 8 years of the CAPS program. In the next section, the evaluation focuses on citizen involvement with policing activities and finds that attendance at beat meetings and other city meetings increased during the study period, indicating a positive impact of the CAPS program on citizen involvement. The next section focuses on the problem solving strategies of CAPS and reports that high-visibility patrols, increased arrests, and aggressive stops were employed 70 percent of the time by police officers in the CAPS program. Police efforts were most successful at countering property crime and least successful at countering social disorder. The final two sections evaluate the management accountability and the information technology of the CAPS program. The report concludes with a preview of the evaluation activities to be undertaken in the coming year.