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Problem-Oriented Policing in Public Housing: Final Report of the Jersey City Project

NCJ Number
Lorraine G. Mazerolle; Justin Ready; Bill Terrill; Frank Gajewski
Date Published
83 pages
This evaluation of a problem-oriented policing program in six of the most crime-ridden public housing sites in Jersey City, N.J., challenges the notion that public housing sites represent the last bastion of program resistance.
The Housing Authority and the Police Department formed six problem-solving "site teams" that consisted of public housing representatives, on-duty and off-duty police officers, tenant representatives, and a social service liaison officer. These teams collectively identified and analyzed drug and violent crime problems in the six target public housing sites. The site teams initiated situational crime prevention tactics such as changing public pay phones to enable out-going calls only and improving lighting in some dimly lit corners of one public housing site. Site teams also sought to control crime problems in common areas by using traditional policing tactics such as arrests, surveillances, investigations, order maintenance, and enforcing open warrants. The evaluation team recorded 602 assigned activities during the 1-year intervention period and documented a steady increase in unique problem-solving activities completed each month. The research shows that the problem-oriented policing activities collectively implemented by the site teams significantly reduced interpersonal, property, and vehicle crimes as well as assistance calls for service. The study did not find, however, significant reductions in the number of calls for service over time for disorder-type problems and drug market problems. 18 tables, 10 figures, and 52 references