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Crime Prevention Through Neighborhood Revitalization: Does Practice Reflect Theory?

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Issue: 231 Dated: August 1996 Pages: 18-23
Date Published
6 pages
This article presents a typology of successful strategies to prevent crime through neighborhood revitalization and describes the efforts in the neighborhood of Merrill in Beloit, Wisc., to demonstrate how its local actions reflect concepts based on research and the practices of other communities that have effectively reduced crime.
The researchers examined hundreds of programs in specific neighborhoods that focused on preventing crime and reversing deterioration; experts nominated the programs as models of successful revitalization. The typology consists of two major categories. The first category uses physical improvement, situation management, and increased active surveillance as strategies based on crime prevention through environmental design and the active defense of neighborhood spaces. The second category uses community investment and economic development, investment in human capital, and community organization as strategies based on collective action to prevent crime. The Merrill community had experienced physical decay and deteriorating social conditions, including drug law offenses, gang activity, a high rate of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and high unemployment. The citizens of Beloit addressed these issues by creating Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS), an organization funded by a community development block grant. The program collaborates with correctional programs, a youth organization, the Merrill community center, the local health clinic, the area mental health agency, various city agencies, and the area council on drug abuse. The program planners regarded homeownership and crime prevention as the two primary and related missions in the Merrill community. The experience of the Merrill community demonstrates how program administrators tailor core concepts to fit specific community conditions and suggests that researchers and program planners can both benefit from closer links between theory and practice. Photographs and reference notes

Date Published: January 1, 1996