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Controlling Drug and Disorder Problems: The Role of Place Managers

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 36 Issue: 2 Dated: May 1998 Pages: 371-403
Date Published
33 pages

The role of place managers in controlling drug and disorder problems on 100 street blocks of Oakland, California, was explored based on self-reports from a sample of place managers and their role in changing the social and physical conditions of street block activities and site observations of the street blocks.


The aim was to assess the relationship between several independent variables such as place manager activities, cohesiveness, fear of crime, demographic characteristics, and number of properties on the street block and outcome variables such as disorder, drug activity, and signs of civility. Overall, 24 percent of place managers took some type of direct action during the intervention period. Street blocks where place managers engaged in collective crime control activities had significantly fewer disorders and greater levels of civil behavior. Direct actions taken by place managers to solve problems at specific target locations, such as calling 911, were not associated with decreased levels of social and physical disorder. The study also found inverse relationships between fear and other place manager actions; increased fear was associated with lower levels of collective action, individual action, and cohesiveness. Community cohesiveness on street blocks was associated with fewer males selling drugs. The authors conclude place managers may be most effective in dealing with drug and disorder problems on street blocks when built-in resistances exist on street blocks and when place managers engage in collective community activism. An appendix contains supplemental study data. 58 references and 9 tables

Date Published: January 1, 1998