Fritsch, E. J., Caeti, T. J., & Taylor, R. W. (1999). Gang suppression through saturation patrol, aggressive curfew, and truancy enforcement: A quasi-experimental test of the Dallas anti-gang initiative. Crime and Delinquency, 45, 122-139.
Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:
Groups, Focused, Proactive; Moderately Rigorous; Effective
What police practice or strategy was examined?
The study evaluated an anti-gang initiative designed to reduce violence in Dallas. The focus here is on the implementation of aggressive curfew and truancy enforcement. Targeted and control areas were selected because they had experienced a large amount of gang violence in the preceding year.
For a period of 1 year, juvenile curfew ordinances were strictly enforced whenever suspected gang members were encountered (the city had a nocturnal curfew ordinance requiring unaccompanied minors to be in their residence during evening hours), and officers worked closely with local school districts in enforcing truancy laws.
How was the intervention evaluated?
The study used a quasi-experimental design with control areas and pre- and post-intervention measures of gang violence and offenses reported to the police. The impact of the initiative was assessed using data on offenses reported to the police during the year prior to and year during the intervention, as well as data from the Gang Unit on all gang-related offenses reported to the police for the same time period.
What were the key findings?
There was a statistically significant reduction (57%) in gang-related violence in the target areas relative to the control areas. Further analysis identifying the strategies responsible for this decrease found that it was the aggressive curfew and truancy enforcement that led to the significant reductions in gang violence.
What were the implications for law enforcement?
Enforcement of curfew and truancy laws can have an impact on gang violence and may potentially have a greater impact on juvenile victimization.
Where can I find more information about this intervention, similar types of intervention, or related studies?