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Improving the Management of Rental Properties With Drug Problems: A Randomized Experiment (From Civil Remedies and Crime Prevention, P 161-185, 1998, Lorraine Green Mazerolle and Jan Roehl, eds. - See NCJ-175510)

NCJ Number
J E Eck; J Wartell
Date Published
25 pages

An experiment was conducted in 121 rental properties in San Diego, Calif., to test a crime event theory that posits that people who manage places help prevent illicit activities and a drug sales prevention tactic designed to pressure landlords with drug problems on their rental property to improve their management practices.


The randomized experiment involved rental places that had already been the target of drug law enforcement. The San Diego Police Department cooperated in the experiment. The properties were randomly assigned to two approximately equal-size treatment groups or to a control group of 42 places that received no further police actions. One treatment group of 42 places received a letter from the police describing the enforcement and officering assistance. The other treatment group of 37 places met individually with a narcotics detective under threat of nuisance abatement; the detective, code officer, and owner of each property inspected the property and began developing a plan for preventing future drug dealing. In addition, the detective worked with the property owner to assure that the changes were made. Results of the follow-up analysis revealed more evictions of drug offenders for both treatment groups relative to the control group, but more evictions for the meeting group than the letter group. Property owners in the meeting group also had a sizable reduction in reported crime within 6 months of the intervention. The letters also appeared to have some crime reduction effect, but the data were less conclusive for this intervention. Findings of this experiment and others provide considerable support for the opinion that place management is causally related to crime and drug dealing and thus that the concept of place management has substantial implications for crime theory and crime prevention practice. Figures, tables, notes, appended table, and 24 references (Author abstract modified)