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Measuring Police and Community Performance Using Web-Based Surveys: Findings From the Chicago Internet Project Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2007
218 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of the Chicago Internet Project, whose goals were to implement a large-scale comprehensive Web-based community survey; to identify the challenges encountered when transferring this infrastructure to other settings; and to determine whether a Web-based survey system could improve the problemsolving process, increase community engagement, and strengthen police-community relations.
The project successfully designed and implemented a comprehensive community Internet survey. This included the identification of samples of potential survey respondents, the development of multiple Web surveys, the purchasing and installation of appropriate Internet survey software, the recruitment of respondents by e-mail and at community meetings, monitoring survey returns and answering questions posed by respondents, arranging incentives to increase participation rates, and managing communication with the police department so as to ensure implementation compliance. The Internet surveys were found to be capable of producing reliable and valid data on citizen perceptions of police performance. These surveys were sensitive to neighborhood differences that had been masked by large-scale surveys in the past. The findings in Chicago suggest that motivated communities will find it feasible to institute a system of online police performance measurement that can be tailored to the interests of specific police agencies and the communities they serve. The researchers concluded, however, that the police should not have complete control over the data collection system and the interpretation of the data. Maximum reform from the data collected is most likely to occur when outsiders participate in collection and observe the findings and their uses. The conceptual scheme for police performance evaluation posited three primary types of community assessment: general assessments of police officers, experienced-based assessment of police officers, and assessment of the police organization as a whole. Tabular data, figures, 136 references, and appended questionnaires

Date Published: November 1, 2007