Neighborhood – Pate et al. (1987)

Study Reference:

Pate, A. M., McPherson, M., & Silloway, G. (1987). The Minneapolis community crime prevention experiment: Draft evaluation report. Washington, DC: Police Foundation.

Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:

Neighborhood; General; Highly Proactive; Rigorous; No evidence of an effect

What police practice or strategy was examined?

This study examines the use of the Minneapolis Community Crime Prevention (MCCP), a city agency with the specific mandate of providing crime prevention services to all of the citizens of Minneapolis. The primary activities of MCCP are to recruit leaders and organize citizens into block clubs; these clubs are then to become the vehicle through which citizen participation in a wide range of both individual and collective crime prevention activities is fostered and encouraged by MCCP. Block meetings encouraged residents to increase the use of physical security measures, participate in block surveillance activities, and integrate socially within the block, as well as improve cooperation with the police. More specifically, this study examines whether MCCP alone, or in collaboration with other types of police activity (police attending block meetings, engaging in special patrolling, and providing additional crime prevention-related services) is effective in reducing burglary and fear of crime.

How was the intervention evaluated?

This study involved 21 neighborhoods in Minneapolis, which were first selected and categorized into seven groups based on demographics and socioeconomic conditions. Each of the three neighborhoods in each group were then randomly assigned to receive one of three conditions. Seven of the neighborhoods received the treatment of the MCCP. Another seven neighborhoods received the treatment of the MCCP acting in collaboration with other police officer activities as described above. The final seven neighborhoods were designated as the untreated control group. Police data on reported residential burglaries were obtained for control and experimental census tracts for years before and after program implementation (April 1977 through June 1978 and September 1979 through December 1980), and residents were also asked to fill out self-administered questionnaires asking about their participation in crime prevention activities, their fear of crime, and cooperation with police and other residents.

What were the key findings?

Neither of the two interventions (MCCP alone or MCCP with police collaboration) resulted in any significant change in burglary of fear of crime.

What were the implications for law enforcement?

The authors suggest that programs focused on neighborhood meetings may not impact crime or fear of crime as might be believed.

Where can I find more information about this intervention, similar types of intervention, or related studies?