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Evaluating Crime Prevention: Lessons from Large-Scale Community Crime Prevention Programs

NCJ Number
Anthony Morgan; Peter Homel
Date Published
July 2013
12 pages
This report from the Australian Institute of Criminology presents the results of an examination on the factors that affect evaluation of large-scale community crime prevention programs in Australia.
Major findings from this report on the factors that affect the evaluation of large-scale community crime prevention program in Australia include the following: an emphasis on delivering crime prevention through small-scale community-driven projects; the small number of Australian initiatives that are available to be included systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and databases; the fact that the available evidence in support of community programs is over 10 years old; and limited evidence in support of community-based initiatives involving delivery of services to individuals at risk of becoming involved in crime or reoffending. This review was conducted to determine the factors that have contributed to the lack of evidence in support of developing and implementing large-scale community crime prevention programs in Australia and provide a set of recommendations for improving the level and quality of crime prevention evaluation. The recommendations are divided into two categories: those for program managers and central agencies, and those for evaluators. The recommendations for program managers and central agencies include targeting evaluation at the areas where it will be of most benefit; monitoring the performance of projects on a regular basis; and establishing mechanisms to effectively manage and support evaluation work. Recommendations for evaluators include evaluating process and outcomes; planning evaluation early and adopting a systematic approach; determining how and in what circumstances interventions work; making better use of weak evaluations; measuring short and long-term outcomes; and including an economic assessment where possible. While these recommendations are aimed at improving process evaluations for community-based crime prevention programs, they can also be applied in a broader sense to cover crime prevention programs in any sector. Figures and references