Neighborhood – Robin et al. (2020)

Study Reference:

Robin, L., Peterson, B., Doyle, L., Chavez, E., & Bracy, N. (2020). The Los Angeles community safety partnership: 2019 assessment. Urban Institute.

Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:

Neighborhoods; Focused; Proactive; Moderately Rigorous; Effective

What police practice or strategy was examined?

This study evaluated the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) implemented in Los Angeles starting in 2011. The intervention involved the Los Angeles Police Department partnering with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles to make public housing developments safer. Housing developments under this program were assigned 10 officers and a sergeant who engaged in activities supporting public safety, resident’s quality of life, and police-community relationships. Officer tasks included foot patrol, planning residential programs, and collaborating with youth services to engage in juvenile programs. Officers were discouraged but allowed to engage in enforcement activities as they were tasked with balancing enforcement duties with building community relations.

How was the intervention evaluated?

The community safety partnership was implemented using a phased rollout across seven housing developments in the city. The intervention was introduced in four housing developments starting in 2011, two additional developments starting in 2015, and one final development in 2016. The remaining seven housing developments in the city that did not receive the community safety partnership served as a comparison group. Researchers conducted interviews with program staff and focus groups with residents to understand the success and challenges of the intervention as well as perceptions of quality of life and police-community relationships. Using data from January 2008 through August 2019, researchers compared pre- and post-intervention trends in reported crime and arrests across treatment and comparison developments. Crime measures included all crimes, property crime, violent crime, gang-related crimes, and crimes with youth victims. This analysis was conducted in waves, corresponding to the phased rollout of the intervention.

What were the key findings?

Overall, treatment developments experienced significantly less property crimes and all crimes compared to comparison developments, however, CSP officers and residents still expressed concern over public safety in treatment developments. Calls for service rates were also significantly lower than expected in treatment developments. Officers noted that perceptions of trust in the police had increased as a result of CSP. However, housing development managers expressed mixed perceptions of CSP’s influence on police-community relationships. Interviews and focus groups revealed that officers were aware of the basic tenets of the CSP intervention but noted challenges relating to resource constraints, balancing enforcement activities, and building police-community relationships.

What were the implications for law enforcement?

The authors conclude that the Community Safety Partnership had reduced crime and improved police-community relationships in at least one of the housing developments. They suggest that to improve the CSP model police should increase communication between partners, heighten the tracking of CSP activities, clarify goals, improve community engagement, redistribute/improve resources, and develop a plan to address quality-of-life problems.

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