Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $246,597)
This grant award will support an action-research partnership between the Urban Institute, the Target Corporation, and four local police agencies to apply Situational Crime Prevention (SCP) strategies to crimes occurring in and around retail shopping malls, and to apply a quasiexperimental design to evaluate the results of those SCP initiatives. The project will expand upon Target's 'Safe City' program, a community-based initiative to maximize safety and reduce crime in specific areas served by Target retail stores. Safe City builds upon participating merchants' existing asset protection resources and encourages joint efforts among neighboring merchants and the police to prevent crime and increase the likelihood of apprehending offenders. In select Safe City sites, CCTVs, radio communications, and call boxes are employed to enhance the ability of Safe City partners to increase customer and staff safety and provide a visible sense of security for shoppers in the area.
While the Safe City model as it currently exists embodies much of the literature on enhanced guardianship through the role of place managers and the potential value of increased surveillance through CCTVs and radio links, the model is less developed with regard to how Safe City partners might identify and prioritize crime problems, analyze the nature of those problems, and develop prevention strategies that are guided by theory, prior research, and tested practice. Working with Safe City sites in Orlando (FL), East Point (GA), Tucson (AZ), and Philadelphia (PA), Urban Institute staff will help support a data-driven approach to Safe City guided by SCP principles and the use of surveillance and communications technology. A thorough process and outcome evaluation of the implementation of SCP employing a quasi-experimental design will provide information on the effectiveness of this approach and its enhancement and replication in future Safe City sites and similar shopping mall environments.