Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $999,396)
This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law. This program furthers the Departments mission by supporting a methodologically rigorous research and/or evaluation effort focused on interactions between law enforcement and youth, with practical implications for the identification and development of strategies that ensure officer, youth, and community safety.
The purpose of this 3-year randomized controlled trial (RCT) is to test whether place-based proactive policing strategies, combined with training for law enforcement officers (LEOs) in youth interactions/crime prevention, can be implemented to achieve crime reduction and broader community/youth and officer benefits. The National Opinion Research Center (NORC) and its subcontractors (Rutgers University and Clarus Research) will implement an RCT with the Atlantic City Police Department (ACPD) in which they will randomize 120 youth-dominated crime hotspots in Atlantic City, NJ, into one of three strategies: problem-oriented policing (POP), POP plus LEO-youth interaction, and youth crime prevention training (POP for Youth) or control (standard patrol). The researchers will collect multiple waves of police data before, during, and after intervention; baseline and post-intervention youth (n = 960 youth, ages 1024, selected randomly from 120 hotspots) and officer (all 252 in the ACPD) surveys to evaluate a range of outcomes on youth, communities, and police. Specifically, the researchers will examine and compare the relative effectiveness of the three policing strategies in reducing overall youth crime and will examine the effects on other outcomes, such as officer knowledge and skills regarding LEO-youth interactions, police safety, and LEO and youth perceptions of interactions and safety. The researchers will also analyze the cost per outcome associated with implementing each strategy to assess if there will be a net cost savings associated with POP or POP for Youth relative to standard patrol. Longitudinal growth models, factor analysis, and regression models (quantitative) and content analysis (qualitative) will be used to analyze the project data, with results disseminated through reports, journal articles, briefings, and conferences.