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DESIGN PROBLEMS IN PUBLIC POLICY DEVELOPMENT - THE CASE OF THE COMMUNITY ANTI-CRIME PROGRAM

NCJ Number
60523
Date Published
January 1979
Length
12 pages
Author(s)
D A LEWIS
Agencies
NIJ-Sponsored
Annotation
ISSUES INVOLVED IN DESIGNING PUBLIC POLICIES ARE EXPLORED THROUGH DESCRIPTION AND EVALUATION OF LEAA'S COMMUNITY ANTICRIME PROGRAM (CACP).
Abstract
SOCIAL SCIENTISTS ARE INCREASINGLY INTERESTED IN THE DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF PUBLIC POLICY. LITTLE ATTENTION, HOWEVER, HAS BEEN PAID TO THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK WHICH SHAPES POLICY AND GUIDES IMPLEMENTATION. THIS ESSAY EXPLORES THE THEORY UPON WHICH THE RECENTLY MANDATED CACP IS BASED. THE CACP IS ONE OF THE FIRST LEAA PROGRAMS AIMED AT SOLVING THE FEAR-OF-CRIME PROBLEM. IT ATTEMPTS TO REMEDY THE PROBLEM BY DIRECTING GRANTS TO LOCAL COMMUNITY-BASED GROUPS WHICH BYPASS STATE AND LOCAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEMS. CACP IS PREMISED ON THE BELIEF THAT THE FEAR OF CRIME AND THE ISOLATION WHICH FOLLOWS CAN BE CURBED IF 'A GREATER SENSE OF COMMUNITY' CAN BE CREATED. THE LOGICAL POLICY FOR THE GOVERNMENT IS TO INCREASE THE CAPACITY OF COMMUNITIES TO RESPOND COLLECTIVELY TO CRIME. HOWEVER, A COLLECTIVE RESPONSE IS IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT COHESIVENESS WHICH ENTAILS THE SELECTION OF SOCIAL MECHANISMS THROUGH WHICH COLLECTIVE RESPONSES CAN BE CHANNELED. IN ADDITION, THE CACP IS BUILT ON A THEORY OF CAUSALITY WHICH, ALTHOUGH NOT EXPLICITLY STATED, NEVERTHELESS AFFECTS THE DESIGN OF THE PROGRAM. THIS THEORY OF CAUSALITY ASSUMES THAT THE MAINTENANCE OF COMMUNITY RESULTS FROM SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF A COLLECTIVE RESPONSE, RATHER THAN BEING THE CONTEXT IN WHICH THE COLLECTIVE RESPONSE MUST GENERATE PARTICIPATION, COMPLIANCE, AND SUCCESS. THE LACK OF DESIGN SOPHISTICATION ILLUSTRATED HERE CAN RESULT IN UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS FOR SUCCESS. DESPITE THESE CONCEPTUAL SHORTCOMINGS, CACP PROVIDES A FEDERAL MANDATE FOR SHAPING CRIME PREVENTION PROGRAMS IN THE COMMUNITY, WITH OR WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF LOCAL LEADERS. NOTES AND REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (LWM)
Date Created: December 30, 1979