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Co-Producing Commercial Safety Services in Philadelphia, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
205 pages
This report presents results from an evaluation of the application of community policing in five commercial districts in the City of Philadelphia for the period 1994 through 1998.
Results indicated that crime in the City of Philadelphia increased slightly during the 5-year period 1994 through 1998. The five commercial districts under analysis experienced increased violent, disorder, and illicit market offenses from 1994 through 1998. On the other hand, arrest rates in the five commercial districts actually decreased for violent, disorder, and property crimes while they remained stable for illicit market offenses. While police captains reported that quality of life issues improved in the five commercial districts, the analysis indicated that the majority of incivilities in the areas remained stable. Most captains reported that problems were worse in commercial districts than in residential districts, particularly in terms of theft, panhandling, robberies, and loitering. The most common response was to use foot patrols in commercial districts. Crime prevention training and the provision of escorts for cash drops were also offered to retailers. Captains also reported the use of partnerships between police and private security and the use of undercover police detectives. Comparisons of the community policing models in the five commercial districts revealed significant variance in their tenure, levels of funding, cooperation with city services, and cooperation with commercial residents. The community policing units are encouraged to become increasingly self-sufficient and to focus on establishing partnerships with city service providers and commercial business owners. While two of the community policing models were deemed successful, two of the other community policing models were plagued with uncooperative city agencies and high turnover rates. Data on business activity from 1988 through 1995 were drawn from the city’s Planning Commission and data on calls for service, reported crime, and arrests were drawn from the Philadelphia Police Department. Surveys were conducted of business owners, customers, and police captains. Data on crime were geo-coded to the five commercial districts under examination. Tables, figures, references, appendix

Date Published: January 1, 2006