The community is the foundation of social and government institutions and an active resource in preventing crime. CEBCP scholars are engaged in innovative research of strategies that place the community at the forefront of crime prevention efforts, and on the interaction of legal institutions and communities.

A Place-Based Community-Oriented Approach to Youth Violence Prevention in Seattle

David Weisburd (PI), Charlotte Gill (co-PI), Zoe Vitter, Serena Favarin, and Sang Jun Park

Bureau of Justice Assistance Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program (with City of Seattle), $978,000

This project focuses on the development and evaluation of an innovative, place-based, community-led violence prevention strategy in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle. The program partners local community members, police, and researchers in the identification and implementation of non-arrest approaches in ‘hot spots’ of youth crime. This project builds upon Seattle’s strong history and culture of community collaboration and neighborhood planning, as well as prior work in the city showing a strong concentration of juvenile crime at street segments and the theoretical and evidence base for non-arrest interventions with youth.


An Evidence-Assessment of the Recommendations of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing

Cynthia Lum and Christopher Koper (PIs), Charlotte Gill (co-PI), Julie Hibdon, Cody Telep and Laurie Robinson (Faculty Researchers)

Laura and John Arnold Foundation (via International Association of Chiefs of Police), $168,821

The Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing is one of the most significant documents for law enforcement in modern history. The Task Force was charged by President Obama in 2014 to “examine ways of fostering strong, collaborative relationships between local law enforcement and the communities they protect and to make recommendations to the President on the ways policing practices can promote effective crime reduction while building public trust” (Final Report, p. 5). But where should law enforcement agencies begin in implementing these recommendations? Which recommendations should be prioritized for action, for policy implementation, or for more research? With a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Institute for Community-Police Relations of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has collaborated with researchers from George Mason University’s (GMU) Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy to create an evidence-based Blueprint for 21st Century Policing. The research team was charged with reviewing existing research knowledge about those Task Force recommendations relevant to state and local law enforcement, highlighting promising efforts based on research knowledge, and identifying issues that need more research and testing.

REPORT: An Evidence-Assessment of the Recommendations of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (by C. Lum, C.S. Koper, C. Gill, J. Hibdon, C. Telep, and L. Robinson)


Implementing and evaluating community policing strategies in juvenile crime hot spots

David Weisburd (PI), Charlotte Gill (co-PI), and Zoe Vitter

Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services, $250,000

While there is a growing body of research indicating that crime concentrates at small geographic units or ‘hot spots,’ little research has examined the unique characteristics of juvenile offending at places. This project seeks to develop, implement, and rigorously evaluate a community-oriented policing approach to juvenile crime hot spots in Seattle. CEBCP will work with the police and community to develop community policing and problem-solving responses targeted at the specific risk factors for juvenile crime in each hot spot. These strategies, while police-led, will focus on crime prevention rather than traditional arrest-based law enforcement approaches.


Increasing Collective Efficacy at Crime Hot Spots: A Patrol Force Approach in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota

David Weisburd (PI), Charlotte Gill (co-PI), and Alese Wooditch

Bureau of Justice Assistance Smart Policing Initiative (with Brooklyn Park Police Department), $700,000

This project capitalizes on new evidence that indicators of social control, such as collective efficacy, are concentrated at individual street blocks. High collective efficacy is associated with a lower risk of a block becoming a crime hot spot. Traditional hot spots policing approaches rarely account for the social context of crime at places, or the role of the community in crime prevention. The goal of this project is to develop a problem-solving approach in which the police will help to build collective efficacy by bringing communities together to deal with social as well as physical disorder at hot spots.


Process Evaluation of the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative’s School Emphasis Officer Program

Charlotte Gill (PI) and Kirsten Hutzell with Denise Gottfredson (University of Maryland)

City of Seattle, $100,000

Seattle’s City Auditor finds that Seattle Police Department has been “thoughtful in the development” of its School Emphasis Officer (school police) program, seeking to avoid the focus on patrol and enforcement that characterizes some police activity in schools. The program’s website states that the SEOs are “specially selected for their interest and experience in working with youth,” and focus on providing support to at-risk youth through promising approaches such as mentoring and conflict resolution/restorative justice, home visits, and referral to services. However, as with most school police programs, Seattle’s approach has not been evaluated. This process evaluation will develop an understanding of the program’s operation in practice and provide a foundation for a future rigorous outcome evaluation. The process evaluation will involve the following three stages: clarification of anticipated outcomes and implementation standards; development and assessment of measures for these outcomes; and collection and analysis of implementation data.


Legal Institutions and Communities

Professor Linda Merola’s research focuses on public opinion about courts and legal issues, with the goal of understanding how legal institutions interact with and serve communities.