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Crime File: Neighborhood Safety

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One of the series of videotapes from the 'Crime File' public affairs program, this video on neighborhood safety mainly uses a panel interview to describe, evaluate, and identify success factors for police-citizen crime prevention programs; programs considered include citizen patrol, block watch, police 'storefront' services, and police door-to-door contact with citizens.
The program describes two crime prevention programs established by the Houston Police Department (Texas). One program involves police going door-to-door to introduce themselves to citizens, leave crime prevention information, and inform residents about reporting crimes and suspicious behavior. The other program uses a 'storefront' police branch office in an urban neighborhood to increase citizen access to and familiarity with the officers responsible for crime control in their neighborhood. The panel that comments on these and other crime prevention programs consists of Lawrence Sherman, evaluation researcher from the University of Maryland; Lucy Gerold, director, Minneapolis Community Crime Prevention program; and C.R. Kirk, Houston Police Department. Sherman, who was involved in the evaluation of the two Houston crime prevention programs, notes that the 'storefront' operation did not reduce crime in the neighborhood it served, but citizens' fear of crime was reduced. Kirk, who had been directly involved in the 'storefront' operation, observes that police and citizens' views of one another has become more positive as a result of the program. Sherman indicates that the police door-to-door approach has reduced crime 50 percent in the neighborhoods where it has been used, largely due to increased police visibility. A video segment describes the citizen patrol program in Minneapolis, Minn., which is one aspect of the crime prevention enterprise based in a community crime prevention network. Gerold, who has been involved in the Minneapolis program, provides advice on maintaining citizen motivation in such programs. She also emphasizes the importance of tailoring crime prevention strategies to neighborhood characteristics. Organizing citizens for crime prevention in low-income, high crime neighborhoods is indicated to be a particular problem.

Date Published: January 1, 1985