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Community Policing and "The New Immigrants": Latinos in Chicago

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2002
27 pages
Publication Series
This document provides an evaluation of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS).
The program was designed to improve police effectiveness by identifying and prioritizing problems, and working with the community to solve the problems. The evaluation was to determine the extent to which CAPS has involved and/or benefited different population groups. The experiences of Chicago’s “new immigrants,” particularly its growing Latino population, are highlighted. The evaluation found that despite aggressive efforts, CAPS experienced difficulties integrating Latinos into the program. Latinos are one of the most troubled populations in Chicago. They have reaped comparatively fewer benefits than those enjoyed in many other city neighborhoods, such as declining crime rates and generally improving conditions. Though awareness of CAPS was generally high due to an aggressive marketing campaign, Spanish-speaking Latinos were not as aware of the program as English-speaking Latinos. Television did not prove to be effective in encouraging involvement in CAPS. Community involvement in CAPS was closely related to the violent crime rate in a particular neighborhood. The attendance of Latinos at neighborhood beat meetings was relatively low despite their perception that their neighborhoods were problem-prone. In contrast to the view of Chicago’s white residents that the quality of policing improved and corruption and misconduct remained stable, Latinos and Blacks were still skeptical about the quality of policing in their neighborhoods at the end of the 1990s. As the rate of immigration and the proportion of Spanish speakers have increased, it was found that levels of education and real income have decreased among the city’s Latinos over time. Poverty and education are closely tied to neighborhood problems and involvement in CAPS, so demographic trends among Latinos may be working against rather than for them. 9 figures, 4 notes

Date Published: July 1, 2002