U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Measuring Success in Focused Deterrence

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2013, $298,264)

In collaboration with the District Attorneys (DAs) Office of the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Police Department, the researchers will develop a data-driven strategy and performance measurement system for Philadelphias focused deterrence law enforcement approach introduced in 2012, and conduct a comprehensive process/outcome/impact/cost-effectiveness evaluation of the strategy on community-wide gun violence and gang behavior. This research builds on: Philadelphias project involving probation, parole and court representatives in Executive Sessions and working groups that focus on intelligence and strategy, social services, and data and evaluation; and training provided by the National Network of Safe Communities funded by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and foundations. Objectives include: creating a DAs Office fellowship program for graduate and undergraduate students; documenting partnership creation and maintenance; developing a performance measurement system integrating information from police, DA, probation and parole; conducting bi-annual research and practice sessions featuring external experts; and creating and administering processes to ensure model fidelity. Research questions include: Do specific more than general deterrence processes operate; what is range of levers (e.g., increased arrests and prosecution of gun crimes) needed for effective strategy; what is importance of offender social services/opportunities relative to deterrence; what are costs associated with the multi-system strategy; and can practical, sustainable, and generalizable data systems be designed? Qualitative information including reports by local agencies on actions taken by gang targeted, Executive Session meeting minutes and task timelines, program observations, interviews with Executive Session members on important characteristics (e.g., resources) of partnerships, and semi-structured interviews and two surveys of law enforcement and other stakeholders will be analyzed using NUDIST software to identify key themes and issues. The process evaluation will assess strategy implementation and consistency with the training, and produce a logic model using qualitative information; a transferability analysis will establish contextual factors that influence strategy potential. Outcome evaluation questions on how the strategy activities relate to arrests, prosecutions, sentences, and gun violence will be addressed using regression models on administrative data. Impact evaluation questions are whether focused deterrence reduces gun violence in the targeted area, and whether violent behavior changes in gangs (est. n=12) subjected to the focused deterrence intervention; growth curve regression models and ARIMA interrupted time series using propensity score matching will compare shooting rates between 2011 and 2015 in target versus matched comparison neighborhoods and gangs in each to examine violent behavior pre/post intervention. Cost information from document review and semi-structured interviews will be used to develop estimates of direct intervention expenditures and economic value of public resources and in-kind agency support to analyze strategy costs in relation to outcomes and compared to business as usual; cost categories include criminal behavior and victimization, and criminal justice system processing related to arrests, community supervision or incarceration. Dissemination includes a project report coauthored by researchers and partners, a transferability manual on performance measures and a program model, articles for journal and newsletter publication, summary briefs for practitioner audiences, and presentations to COPS and professional association meetings. ca/ncf

Date Created: September 13, 2013