U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Policing in Public Housing: Using Calls for Service To Examine Incident-Based Workload in the Philadelphia Housing Authority

NCJ Number
Policing Volume: 21 Issue: 4 Dated: 1998 Pages: 618-631
Date Published
14 pages

This is an analysis of police calls for service in a large set of public housing developments.


The article compares and contrasts findings of police workload in the housing developments with prior findings of studies conducted in municipal police settings. While similar patterns of service requests appeared in the two settings, particularly in public order and reactive law enforcement, public housing police were required to respond to calls related to the physical structures of the public housing. Radio-driven police activity had a low base rate of occurrence in public housing. It could not be determined whether this low base rate reflected an actual lack of activity or an apathetic residential population that might not care enough or trust the police to intervene in local problems. The current findings notwithstanding, little is known about the role of police in public housing settings. Calls for service data help measure the quantity of official police-citizen interactions, but they do little to explain the quality of those interactions. Table, figure, notes, references, appendix

Date Published: January 1, 1998