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Final Outcomes of Project ROAR: A Discussion of Findings and Implications for Future Research

NCJ Number
Date Published
48 pages
This paper reports the final outcomes documented by an evaluation of Project ROAR (Reclaiming Our Area Residence), which was designed to make the streets of Spokane, Wash., safer by enabling residents to value their neighborhoods.
In an effort to stem the tide of neighborhood decay, tenants of the public housing unit, local business owners, the Police Department, and the Housing Authority developed a program of drug crime elimination based on the principles of citizen empowerment and the co-production of order. The program, known by the acronym ROAR, reflects a collaborative multilevel approach to neighborhood crime and disorder prevention. Within the experimental area, efforts were made to "win back the streets" from illegal commerce by promoting socially beneficial, legal commerce in the form of a public market place. The expectation was that saturating the area with conventional legal activities would drive out those who would conduct illegal business without fear of public scrutiny and detection. Residents living near the experimental area observed ROAR revitalization effects and themselves began asking ROAR participants how they might form collaborative partnerships with public-sector officials and private businesses to promote similar interests. This report focuses on the findings of a 4-year longitudinal evaluation that examined the effects of the program. Data collection addressed the effects of introducing conventional commerce in the form of a public marketplace. A process evaluation documented the emergence of the ROAR model in order to better understand the robustness of ROAR as it might also apply in residential areas that differ from the original site in terms of crime visibility and the preponderance of public housing residences. Data were obtained from surveys, official crime statistics, and objective measures of neighborhood disorder, so as to examine changes in residents' perceptions of the quality of their neighborhood life, perceptions of police services, and decreases in the levels of neighborhood crime. Overall, the evaluation shows that residents in the targeted area perceive that their community is safer. Crime statistics show this to be true. Findings thus indicate that when the activities in a given place are infused with positive, legal values for the community, then negative activities tend to be supplanted. 82 references

Date Published: January 1, 1998