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Creating A Better Understanding Of Cross-Jurisdictional Task Forces On The Border: An Evaluation Of Two Efforts To Target Drugs And Violence In San Diego County

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Awardee County
San Diego
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $299,136)

Research has shown that drug trafficking and related violence can often more effectively be addressed when resources are targeted collaboratively. However, very little, if any research has focused specifically on how task forces can be most effective when addressing the complex issues that occur along the U.S.-Mexico border.

This project will conduct a two-year evaluation of two law enforcement efforts (Chula Vista Police Department and San Diego County Sheriff's Department) funded to target crime stemming from the Southern Border of the United States. Both agencies are located in San Diego County, accounting for less than 5% of the border with Mexico, but 44% of the U.S. Southwest border population. Because these grants involve different strategies (enhancing existing task forces versus creating a new unit to work with these task forces), this project would provide a unique opportunity to better understand how resources can be best leveraged and coordinated in both the short-term while grant funding is available, and longer-term, once grant funding has ended.

The goal of this project is to determine how successful two ARRA-funded efforts were improving the efficiency and effectiveness of combating criminal narcotics activity along the U.S.-Mexico border. The four objectives include: (1) Documenting the various law enforcement efforts before and after the implementation of the ARRA-funded projects; (2) Documenting project implementation, as well as the challenges and successes to better inform future ones aimed at addressing border-related narcotics and other criminal activity; (3) Measuring what outcomes, including improved coordination and information sharing were associated with these efforts; and (4) Determining how efficient these strategies were, given the cost and measurable outcomes.

A variety of data collection strategies will be used, including conducting a thorough analysis of activities from October 2007 to September 2009 and between October 2009 and March 2012 in both San Diego County and Imperial County through interviews and historical records. Surveys will be conducted with stakeholders across local, state, and federal agencies that have been directly involved in these efforts, as well as those who have not. Outcome measures include a resident survey in both communities and outcome statistics related to border-related drug trafficking and other crime (e.g., drugs, guns, and monetary assets that are seized) will be compiled. Program activities will be observed through ride-alongs and other direct contact, and cost data compiled through official sources. Both descriptive and inferential statistics will be used to address the research objectives, utilizing a multiple time series design with the unit of analysis being task forces in both counties. Social network and spatial analysis will be used to determine if opportunities for better coordination exist, trend analysis to determine how drug-trafficking organizations were disrupted/dismantled, and an efficiency ratio to determine if maximum effectiveness and efficiency were realized.


Date Created: September 21, 2010