U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

The District of Columbia Mayor’s Focused Improvement Area Initiative: Review of the Literature Relevant to Collaborative Crime Reduction

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2010

This document summarizes the results of a literature review on multifaceted approaches to reducing crime and improving neighborhoods that are similar to the District of Columbia’s Focused Improvement Area (FIA) Initiative, focusing on efforts that were intended to produce community-level impacts through multiple approaches and were carried out by interagency partnerships.


This summary document of a literature review on collaborative crime reduction, relevant to the District of Columbia’s Focused Improvement Area (FIA) Initiative, is divided into two broad sections; the first covering programmatic elements of the initiatives that were reviewed, the second section covering process and structural elements of the initiatives. Key lessons for policy and practice included: project goals must be rigorously assessed against the resources of support necessary to implement them; the dynamics of problems must be carefully defined using data and the front-line knowledge of practitioners such as law enforcement officers; swiftness and certainty of sanctions for criminal behavior is more effective in deterring potential offenders than the severity of the sanction; when working with gang members or active offenders, it is very important to balance crime suppression activities with interventions to reduce or prevent criminal activity; different subpopulations will respond to different types of intervention activities or levels of service intensity; outreach workers can be very effective in connecting with offenders and at-risk youth, especially if they share common experiences with the target population; many human services objectives require an integrated partnership capable of delivering multiple interventions; interagency collaboration is very important but can take years and serious commitment to achieve; and sustaining initiatives requires several factors such as securing sufficient resources, collecting evaluation data to substantiate success and make mid-course corrections, and community support.

Date Published: December 1, 2010