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Crime reduction

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Try Again, Fail Again, Fail Better: Lessons from Community Courts

April 2011

Change doesn't come easy, particularly within an institution as large and complex as the criminal justice system. Greg Berman, Director of the Center for Court Innovation, offered lessons from several efforts to make reform stick in criminal justice settings. In particular, he focused on the development of community courts — experimental court projects that are attempting to reduce both crime and incarceration in dozens of cities across the U.S. and around the world.

Violent Repeat Victimization: Prospects and Challenges for Research and Practice

April 2012

Research tells us that a relatively small fraction of individuals experience a large proportion of violent victimizations. Thus, focusing on reducing repeat victimization might have a large impact on total rates of violence. However, research also tells us that most violent crime victims do not experience more than one incident during a six-month or one-year time period. As a result, special policies to prevent repeat violence may not be cost-effective for most victims.

Less Prison, More Police, Less Crime: How Criminology Can Save the States from Bankruptcy

April 2010

Professor Lawrence Sherman explains how policing can prevent far more crimes than prison per dollar spent. His analysis of the cost-effectiveness of prison compared to policing suggests that states can cut their total budgets for justice and reduce crime by reallocating their spending on crime: less prison, more police.

How Collaboration Between Researchers and Police Chiefs Can Improve the Quality of Sexual Assault Investigations: A Look at Los Angeles

June 2011

Panelists discuss the application of research findings from an NIJ-sponsored study of sexual assault attrition to police practice in Los Angeles. There are three main focal points: (1) the mutual benefits of researcher/practitioner partnerships, (2) the implications of variation in police interpretation of UCR guidelines specific to clearing sexual assault (with an emphasis on cases involving nonstrangers), and (3) the content of specialized training that must be required for patrol officers and detectives who respond to and investigate sex crimes.

Don't Jump the Shark: Understanding Deterrence and Legitimacy in the Architecture of Law Enforcement

November 2010

Deterrence theory dominates the American understanding of how to regulate criminal behavior but social psychologists' research shows that people comply for reasons that have nothing to do with fear of punishment; they have to do with values, fair procedures and how people connect with one another. Professor Meares discussed the relevance of social psychologists' emerging theory to legal theory and practice and how deterrence and emerging social psychology theories intertwine.

Benefit-Cost Analysis for Crime Policy

February 2011

How do we decide how to allocate criminal justice resources in a way that minimizes the social harms from both crime and policy efforts to control crime? How, for that matter, do we decide how much to spend on the criminal justice system and crime control generally, versus other pressing needs? These questions are at the heart of benefit-cost analysis.

The State of the Police Field: A New Professionalism in Policing?

June 2010

Panelists debate the premise of a Harvard Executive Session working paper that suggests police organizations are striving for a "new" professionalism. Leaders are endeavoring for stricter standards of efficiency and conduct, while also increasing their legitimacy to the public and encouraging innovation. Is this new? Will this idea lead to prematurely discarding community policing as a guiding philosophy?

Alternative Sentencing Policies for Drug Offenders

June 2009

The panel presentations from the 2009 NIJ Conference are based on an NIJ-sponsored evaluation of the effectiveness of Kansas Senate Bill 123, which mandates community-based drug abuse treatment for drug possession by nonviolent offenders in lieu of prison. 

Situational Approaches to Making Communities and Correction Institutions Safer

June 2010

NIJ Conference panelists will present the results of three studies that applied situational crime prevention (SCP) principles: (1) an evaluation of the Safe City initiative in Chula Vista, Calif., designed to combine the expertise and resources of local law enforcement, retailers and the community to increase the safety of designated retail areas; (2) a randomized controlled trial (in partnership with the Washington Metro Transit Police) that assessed the effectiveness of SCP to reduce car crime in Metro's parking facilities; and (3) an evaluation of the impact of SCP on pr

What Works in Probation and Parole

June 2009

How can we prevent reoffending and reduce costs? Research points to a number of solutions. At the Tuesday plenary, Judge Steven Alm from Hawaii will describe his successes with hard-core drug offenders. “Swift and sure” is his motto. West Virginia Cabinet Secretary James W. Spears will discuss the issues from his state's perspective, and Adam Gelb, Director of the Pew Charitable Trust's Public Safety Performance Project, will lend a national overview.

Sex Offenders in the Community: Post-Release, Registration, Notification and Residency Restrictions

May 2010

The management of sexual offenders in the community post-release is an issue of increasing concern to law enforcement, policymakers and the public. In recent years, efforts to strengthen registration and notification have been enhanced. At the same time, comparatively little attention has been paid to related matters, such as how residency restrictions may impact offenders' efforts to find stable work and living arrangements once they are released from prison, whether rates of recidivism have changed, and whether these policies increase the safety of potential victims.

NIJ's 50th Anniversary - Looking Back, Looking Forward

August 2018
NIJ’s 50th anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on how far the Institute has come, as well as its direction and priorities moving forward. In this Research for the Real World event, panelists will speak to the history and future of the Institute, drawing from decades of experience working for and closely with NIJ. Two Former NIJ Directors will reflect on their days heading the agency and their observations on how the agency has changed over time.

LEADS Scholar Spotlight — Predictive Policing Algorithms

May 2018
Shon Barnes, a deputy police chief with the Salisbury Police Department in North Carolina and a Class of 2015 scholar of NIJ’s Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Program, explains predictive policing and details a quasi-experiment that his department performed. He credits the LEADS Scholarship Program with helping him understand data and ask the right questions.