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Community-Based Planning: Promoting a Neighborhood Response to Crime

NCJ Number
Date Published
12 pages
States and local governments are increasingly embracing a bottom-up approach to criminal justice planning and are adopting strategies to empower local officials and community members in their fight against crime.
Planning models of this sort focus on locally defined concerns and priorities and promote collaboration between State and local agencies and between community members and neighborhood institutions. The models may also involve State coordination of various funding streams, both State and Federal, to help communities maximize available resources. Multidisciplinary, community-based planning efforts in Colorado, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are described. Although these efforts share the common goal of encouraging community mobilization to address crime and public safety problems, they differ in their evolution, scope, and stage of implementation. The efforts are presented as examples of approaches to developing and implementing community-based planning. General themes common to the four State strategies concern the changing role of State government, communication, evaluation, feedback, and leadership. The Colorado Department of Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice, supports a number of community-based crime prevention and intervention programs that use empirical data to identify gaps in services and sociological predictors of risk to program plans and strategies. Initiatives under Maryland's HotSpot Communities program provide communities with tools to define and address their crime problems. The objective of Pennsylvania's community-based planning efforts is to give citizens, local officials, and criminal justice practitioners the opportunity to respond to community-specific crime problems with local solutions. In Virginia, State and local officials, criminal justice practitioners, and community members have worked together to develop a strategic plan to guide the State's criminal justice system. 12 references