This report summarizes the results of a field test conducted by the Newark Police Department and evaluated by the Police Foundation under a grant from the National Institute of Justice. The test, carried out from the fall of 1983 through the summer of 1984, evaluated the theory that by attempting to reduce the social and physical “signs of crime,” police, working with other city agencies, can reduce the fear of crime.
The evaluation found that the effort to reduce the signs of crime had few statistically significant effects. At the area level, residents in the program area experienced a significant increase in victimization and increased their use of household protection measures. No significant effect on fear of personal victimization was demonstrated. Representatives of non-residential establishments in the program area were more likely to have perceived an increased level of concern as expressed by employees and patrons.
Survey of individuals in treatment and control areas, pre- and post-implementation, found that individuals in the program area were more likely to have perceived an increase in physical deterioration and to have taken more actions to protect their homes against crime.
The authors postulate that these disappointing findings are a result of the relatively few people in the program area that were even aware of the program activity. People that were able to recall being exposed to some components of the program generally demonstrated some positive effects.
The full report is available here.