Neighborhood – Tuffin et al. (2006)

Study Reference:

Tuffin, R., Morris, J., & Poole, A.. (2006). An evaluation of the impact of the National Reassurance Policing Programme. Home Office Research Study London: Research, Development and Statistics Directorate, U.K. Home Office.

Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:

Neighborhoods; Groups; Highly Proactive; Moderately Rigorous; Effective

What police practice or strategy was examined?

This report evaluates Great Britain’s National Reassurance Policing Program (NRPP), which aimed to foster cooperation among police, other public agencies, and neighborhood residents in setting priorities and developing plans for addressing crime and antisocial behavior in neighborhoods. NRPP activities can be summarized as 1) targeted policing activity and problem-solving to tackle crimes and disorder; 2) soliciting community involvement in the process of identifying priorities and providing information, input and feedback; and 3) increasing the presence of visible, accessible, and locally known authority figures in neighborhoods, in particular police officers and police community support officers.

How was the intervention evaluated?

Six sites that received the NRPP were matched with control sites that were similar with regards to specific demographic variables such as population density and ethnicity. To measure the program’s impact, crime data as well as telephone surveys for each site were collected. Survey data was collected for eight measures estimating anti-social behavior which included loitering teenagers, presence of litter, several measures for presence of vandalism and graffiti in different locations, verbal harassment related to ethnicity or religion, drug use and distribution, and public drunkenness or disorderly conduct. Crime statistics were measured at the beginning of the initiative and again one year after the completion of the program. For the surveys, a sample of 300 respondents was randomly selected, and a panel sample of approximately 200 was used in each site of the twelve sites. The same respondents surveyed at the outset of the program were then surveyed one year after the completion of the program.

What were the key findings?

Overall, the program achieved statistically significant reductions (compared with measures in control areas) in crime and in residents’ perceptions of five of the eight measured types of antisocial behavior; and there was an increase in residents’ confidence in policing and feelings of safety. Sample sizes were too small to determine whether or not the program impacted crime victims’ satisfaction with the police, as well as attitudes toward police held by persons who were stopped or approached by police during the previous 12 months. There were improvements in indicators of resident’s perceptions of police engagement activity and resulting public awareness, with five of the six sites seeing statistically significant changes on one or more indicators in relation to the control areas. The analysis of data on problem solving and community engagement for the individual sites was consistent with the outcome achieved.

What were the implications for law enforcement?

This research suggests the effectiveness of an approach to community engagement that goes beyond public meetings to include, for example, street briefings, door knocking, and soliciting community input in structured ways.

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