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Gang Suppression Through Saturation Patrol and Aggressive Curfew and Truancy Enforcement: A Quasi-Experiment Test of the Dallas Anti-Gang Initiative (From Policing Gangs and Youth Violence, P 267-284, 2003, Scott H. Decker, ed. -- See NCJ-201783)

NCJ Number
Eric J. Fritsch; Tory J. Caeti; Robert W. Taylor
Date Published
18 pages
This chapter assesses the effectiveness of aggressive curfew enforcement, aggressive truancy enforcement, and saturation patrol in reducing gang-related violence and offenses reported to the Dallas Police Department (Texas).
These strategies were part of the Dallas Police Department's implementation of an Anti-Gang Initiative (AGI) grant from the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to combat violent gang activity. The grant period lasted from June 1, 1996, through May 31, 1997. In 1996, Dallas had 79 gangs with 6,145 documented gang members. The evaluation of the effectiveness of the three strategies was conducted with a quasi-experimental design. The evaluation found, consistent with previous similar research, that undirected saturation patrol had little impact on crime reduction; simply adding more police officers without direction is therefore not effective. The evaluation did find evidence that aggressive enforcement of truancy and curfew laws reduced gang-related violence in certain areas. This finding, however, needs replication in a true experimental design. The chapter advises that in their gang-related strategies, police should focus on the crime problems that gangs create rather than on the underlying socioeconomic conditions that underlie the emergence of gangs and attract youth to them. Other community agencies are better equipped through knowledge and organization to address these factors. Police are mandated, organized, staffed, and trained to identify, analyze, and counter crime and control crime. Strategies that direct the use of police resources toward offenders, places, and times show promise, but require more evaluation before they can be deemed proven strategies. 2 tables, 7 notes, and 50 references