This project was proposed in response to NIJ's June 2003 Solicitation for Evaluations of OJJDP Discretionary Funds Projects. It has been externally peer reviewed and internally reviewed and found to satisfy the requirements for an evaluation of Youth Crime Watch programs.
B. Project Description-Abstract
Project Goals and Objectives
Over a four-year project period, Abt Associates Inc., with the assistance of the Miami-based Thurston Group and two Florida-based consultants, proposes to conduct a national evaluation of Youth Crime Watch (YCW) programs. Our proposed evaluation has three major goals. We will attempt to measure both the school-level and YCW student participant-level impacts of YCW programs. In order to interpret the impact findings and to understand key program success factors, we will also conduct a process evaluation of YCW programs.
Proposed Research Design and Methodology. SCHOOL-LEVEL IMPACT: We will assess the impact of YCW in three to-be-determined Florida school districts with high concentrations of YCW programs in secondary schools. Data will be collected for each secondary school in these three districts. Impact indicators at the school-level are reported crimes, disciplinary actions taken, school climate. We will also collect three sets of potential explanatory indicators, including program characteristics (e.g., size, intensity, activities implemented), school characteristics (e.g., size and demographic indicators), and safe school strategies implemented. We propose to collect school-level data retrospectively for as far back as automated data availability allows and prospectively for as far into the future as this study allows. We will analyze the school-level data using statistical techniques that are suitable for the analysis of pooled cross-section time-series data. Schools that do not implement YCW programs will serve as controls.
PARTICIPANT-LEVEL IMPACT. Impact indicators at the participant-level include measures of self-esteem, sense of control, empowerment, involvement in school and community affairs, and involvement in risk-taking behavior (obtained via surveys), as well as measures of school attendance, disciplinary actions, and academic achievement (obtained via existing school administrative records). For the participant-level impact evaluation and process evaluation, we will draw a sample of 25 schools from the three districts. Participant-level impact indicator data will be collected from YCW participants and a matched set of non-YCW participants. We will analyze the participant-level data using hierarchical linear and nonlinear estimation techniques.
To help interpret the impact findings and understand key success factors, we will also interview principals and conduct surveys and focus groups with YCW participants and adult leaders from the same 25 schools.
We will produce three major deliverables during the four-year project ' an interim report that contains a preliminary school-level impact analysis, a second interim report that contains a preliminary participant-level impact analysis, and a final report that summarizes all project findings.