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Combating Crime in Public Housing: A Qualitative and Quantitative Longitudinal Analysis of the Chicago Housing Authority's Anti-Drug Initative

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 16 Issue: 3 Dated: September 1999 Pages: 519-557
Date Published
39 pages

This article examines the impact of the Chicago Housing Authority’s Anti-Drug Initiative through the eyes of the residents and other key participants.


The article evaluated the success of a Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) anti-drug initiative in three high-rise developments from 1994 to 1996. It assessed the implementation of the programs in each site and tracked other, related interventions. Using a combination of surveys and qualitative research methods, it examined the impact of these programs through the eyes of the residents and other key actors, looking at various outcome measures related to crime and disorder. Findings indicated some positive results, but follow-up research conducted in 1996 documented the fragility of those changes and their vulnerability to gang influence. Many of the people causing problems were not outsiders but neighbors, relatives, partners and friends of witnesses or victims of the crimes. Controlling crime entailed risk of possible retaliation and the potential loss of relationships. Police and prosecutorial action against gangs was effective against the leaders, but had the unintended consequence of creating power vacuums that led to increased turmoil in the CHA’s developments. Notes, tables, figures, references, cases cited

Date Published: January 1, 1999