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Problem-Oriented Policing Approach to Drug Enforcement: Atlanta as a Case Study

NCJ Number
S S Stone
Date Published
623 pages
Problem-oriented policing was field tested as an approach to drug law enforcement in Atlanta and was assessed with respect to its effects on crime reports, drug arrests, and citizen fear of crime and satisfaction with the police and the local housing authority.
The target area consisted of four public housing communities identified as having high levels of crime and drug activity. Two communities were chosen for intervention and two were used as controls. The project management team determined the major barriers to drug law enforcement in the intervention areas and implemented problem-solving activities to address them. Crime reports and drug arrests were monitored monthly during the project, and a resident survey was conducted in all four sites at the start and end of the project. The survey measured perceptions of crime seriousness and drug activity, fear of crime, informal social control, victimization, and satisfaction with the police and housing authority. Results revealed a significant reduction in violent crime and drug arrests in one intervention site, which was also the location of a mini-precinct opened as part of the project. The project activities did not significantly affect residents' perceptions of seriousness of crime and drug activity, their fear of crime, their victimization, indicators of informal social control, or level of satisfaction with the police or housing authority. The project resulted in improvements in relationships within and between agencies; these improvements will aid future problemsolving efforts. The analysis also concludes with suggestions of organizational characteristics that support the ability of a police agency to implement problem-oriented policing. Tables; appended tables, instrument, and descriptions of specific activities; and approximately 300 references


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