National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Reducing Disorder, Fear, and Crime in Public Housing: Evaluation of a Drug-Crime Elimination Program in Spokane, Washington, 1992-1995 (ICPSR 2628) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

Established in 1994, Project ROAR (Reclaiming Our Area Residences) is a public housing drug-crime elimination program sponsored by the Spokane Police Department and the Spokane Housing Authority. This study was undertaken to examine and evaluate the effects and outcomes of Project ROAR as it was implemented in the Parsons' Public Housing Complex, located in downtown Spokane, Washington. In addition, the study sought to determine to what extent the project as implemented reflected Project ROAR as originally conceived, and whether Project ROAR could be considered a comprehensive community policing crime prevention program. Further, the study attempted to determine what effects this collaborative anti-crime program might have on: (1) residents' perceptions of the quality of their neighborhood life, including perceptions of neighborhood inhabitants, satisfaction with their neighborhood, fear of crime, and neighborhood physical and social disorder, (2) objective measures of physical and social disorder, (3) levels of neighborhood crime, and (4) subjective perceptions of the level and quality of policing services. To assess the implementation and short-term impacts of Project ROAR, data were collected from various sources. First, four waves of face-to-face interviews were conducted with Parsons' Public Housing residents at approximately six-month intervals: April 1994, December 1994, May 1995, and November 1995 (Part 1, Public Housing Residents Survey Data). Information collected from interviews with the Parsons' residents focused on their involvement with Project ROAR, community block watches, and tenant councils. Residents commented on whether there had been any changes in the level of police presence, drug-related crimes, prostitution, or any other physical or social changes in their neighborhood since the inception of Project ROAR. Residents were asked to rate their satisfaction with the housing complex, the neighborhood, the Spokane Police Department, the number of police present in the neighborhood, and the level of police service. Residents were also asked if they had been the victim of any crimes and to rate their level of fear of crime in the complex during the day and night, pre- and post-Project ROAR. The gender and age of each survey participant was also recorded. The second source of data was a city-wide survey mailed to the residents of Spokane (Part 2, Spokane Citizens Survey Data). Information collected from the survey includes demographics on ethnicity, gender, age, highest level of education, present occupation, and family income. The city residents were also asked to assess the level of police service, the number of police present in their neighborhood, the helpfulness of neighbors, whether they felt safe alone in their neighborhood, and overall satisfaction with their neighborhood. Third, a block-level physical and social disorder inventory was taken in April 1994, October 1994, April 1994, and October 1995 (Part 3, Neighborhood Inventory Data). The sex, age, and behavior of the first ten people observed during the inventory period were recorded, as well as the number of people observed loitering. Other observations made included the number of panhandlers, prostitutes, open drug sales, and displays of public drunkenness. The number of residential and commercial properties, restaurants, bars, office buildings, empty lots, unboarded and boarded abandoned buildings, potholes, barriers (walls or fences), abandoned cars, and for-sale signs, along with the amount of graffiti on public and private properties and the amount of litter and broken glass observed in each neighborhood, completed the inventory data. Finally, crime reports were collected from the Spokane Police Department's Crime Analysis Unit (Part 4, Disaggregated Crime Data, and Part 5, Aggregated Crime Data). These data contain monthly counts of robberies and burglaries for the public housing neighborhood, a constructed controlled comparison neighborhood, and the city of Spokane for the period January 1, 1992, through December 31, 1995.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  Public Housing Residents Survey Data - Download All Files (1.1 MB)
DS2:  Spokane Citizens Survey Data - Download All Files (1.4 MB)
DS3:  Neighborhood Inventory Data - Download All Files (1.1 MB)
DS4:  Disaggregated Crime Data - Download All Files (0.8 MB)
DS5:  Aggregated Crime Data - Download All Files (0.8 MB)

Study Description

Citation

McGarrell, Edmund. REDUCING DISORDER, FEAR, AND CRIME IN PUBLIC HOUSING: EVALUATION OF A DRUG-CRIME ELIMINATION PROGRAM IN SPOKANE, WASHINGTON, 1992-1995. ICPSR version. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University, Dept. of Criminal Justice [producer], 1997. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02628.v1

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (93-IJ-CX-0054)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   community involvement, community policing, crime prevention, crime reduction, drug law offenses, fear of crime, neighborhood characteristics, neighborhood conditions, neighborhoods, perceptions, police response, program evaluation, public housing, residents

Geographic Coverage:   Spokane, United States, Washington

Time Period:  

  • 1992-01-01--1995-12-31

Unit of Observation:   Parts 1 and 2: Individuals. Part 3: Neighborhood blocks. Parts 4 and 5: Crime incidents.

Universe:   Part 1: Residents of the Parsons' Housing Complex. Part 2: Citizens in the city of Spokane. Part 3: A constructed controlled comparison site and the Project ROAR neighborhood. Parts 4 and 5: The Project ROAR neighborhood, comparison site, and city of Spokane.

Data Types:   survey data, observational data, and aggregate data

Data Collection Notes:

The user guide, codebook, and data collection instruments are provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided through the ICPSR Website on the Internet.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   Project ROAR (Reclaiming Our Area Residences), established in 1994, is a public housing drug-crime elimination program sponsored by the Spokane Police Department and the Spokane Housing Authority. The program reflected a public-private, inter-agency collaboration that sought to empower public housing tenants in an effort to produce a safer neighborhood. The main purposes of Project ROAR were (1) to build upon the ideas of past and present community-based crime prevention and reduction efforts, (2) to provide insight into the effectiveness of such programs as they related to the mobilization of public housing residents, and (3) to examine the extent to which community-based crime prevention programs could create positive changes in perceptions of safety, neighborhood disorder, and crime rates. The Project ROAR program targeted poor neighborhoods located in central business districts with large elderly and transient populations that were experiencing high rates of drug dealing and related crime and disorder problems. Key elements of the program as originally conceived included: (1) opening a community-oriented policing substation within the public housing area and assigning a neighborhood resource officer to the target area, (2) collaborative problem-solving meetings among all key stakeholders in the targeted neighborhood, (3) the development of a neighborhood improvement committee, (4) hiring a resident resource coordinator to act as a liaison between the public housing residents and other program participants, (5) coordinating crime prevention education programs with the city's Crime Prevention Center and Block Watch, and (6) initiating neighborhood physical improvements. The purpose of this study was to examine and evaluate the effects and outcomes of Project ROAR as it was implemented in the Parsons' Public Housing Complex, located in downtown Spokane, Washington. Moreover, the study sought to determine to what extent the project as implemented reflected Project ROAR as originally conceived, and whether Project ROAR could be considered a comprehensive community crime prevention program. Further, the study sought to determine what effects a collaborative anti-crime program might have on: (1) residents' perceptions of the quality of their neighborhood life, including perceptions of neighborhood inhabitants, satisfaction with their neighborhood, fear of crime, and neighborhood physical and social disorder, (2) objective measures of physical and social disorder, (3) levels of neighborhood crime, and (4) subjective perceptions of the level and quality of policing services.

Study Design:   To assess the implementation and short-term impacts of Project ROAR, data were collected from four sources. First, four waves of face-to-face interviews were conducted with a representative sample of the Parsons' Public Housing residents approximately at six-month intervals: April 1994, December 1994, May 1995, and November 1995 (Part 1, Public Housing Residents Survey Data). The interviews generally touched upon perceptions of the quality of neighborhood life and the level and quality of police services. The second source of data was a city-wide mail survey on many of the same items included in the Parsons' resident interviews sent to residents of the city of Spokane (Part 2, Spokane Citizens Survey Data). The intent was to conduct two such sets of interviews and to oversample from both the Project ROAR area and the Spokane city area, in an effort to gain a sufficient number of respondents from these two neighborhoods. The study did not produce sufficient numbers by which meaningful conclusions could be drawn, despite oversampling. The Spokane citizens' survey, however, can be used to examine trends among city residents as a whole. Given the differences in method of administration (face-to-face interviews versus mail surveys), direct comparisons between the Parsons' resident interviews and the Spokane citizens' survey should not be made. Third, a controlled site was constructed which was similar to the project area that surrounded the Parsons Public Housing Complex with regard to individual and neighborhood characteristics (Part 3, Neighborhood Inventory Data). The control site was used to develop comparisons to the project area with respect to objective measures of social and physical disorder. A block-level physical and social disorder inventory was conducted in April 1994 (to gather baseline data), October 1994, April 1995, and October 1995. The inventory was conducted for 44 blocks that comprised the total number of blocks in the project and comparison areas. A team of independent evaluators walked through all of the blocks in both the project and comparison sites during various times of the day and recorded observations of the physical and social environment. Inter-evaluator reliability checks were made to ensure consistency of the data collected. Each block-level inventory began with the evaluators recording the street name and cross streets, date, time, and the estimated temperature. Immediately thereafter, the social environment inventory was conducted. For exactly one minute, evaluators observed the social activity of the block, recording the number of individuals present outside, their gender, approximate age, and their behavior. After one minute elapsed, the physical environment inventory commenced. Evaluators recorded the number of guardianship items, lighting items, and disorder items found on each block. Due to varied block lengths, the environment inventory (per block) lasted anywhere between five and forty minutes. Lastly, 24 months of pre-program and post-program implementation crime data were collected from the Spokane Police Department's Crime Analysis Unit for the period beginning January 1, 1992, and ending December 31, 1995 (Part 4, Disaggregated Crime Data, and Part 5, Aggregated Crime Data). The Crime Analysis Unit routinely collected data on reported crimes for burglaries, robberies, and sex offenses. Burglary was defined as any unauthorized entry into a residential or commercial dwelling, and robbery was defined as any use of force or the threat of force for purposes of committing a theft. Data for the crimes outlined were collected for the project area, the controlled comparison area, and the city of Spokane.

Data Source:

personal interviews, self-enumerated questionnaires, direct observation, and official records

Description of Variables:   For Part 1, Public Housing Residents Survey Data, information collected from interviews with the Parsons' residents focused on their involvement with Project ROAR, community block watches, and tenant councils. Residents commented on whether there had been any changes in the level of police presence, drug-related crimes, prostitution, or any other physical or social changes in their neighborhood since the inception of Project ROAR. Residents were asked to rate their satisfaction with the housing complex, the neighborhood, the Spokane Police Department, the number of police present in the neighborhood, and the level of police service. Residents were also asked if they had been the victim of any crimes and to rate their level of fear of crime in the complex during the day and night, pre- and post-Project ROAR. The gender and age of each survey participant was also recorded. The second source of data was a city-wide survey mailed to the residents of Spokane (Part 2, Spokane Citizens Survey Data). Information collected from the survey includes demographics on ethnicity, gender, age, highest level of education, present occupation, and family income. The city residents were also asked to assess the level of police service, the number of police present in their neighborhood, the helpfulness of neighbors, whether they felt safe alone in their neighborhood, and overall satisfaction with their neighborhood. Third, a block-level physical and social disorder inventory was taken in April 1994, October 1994, April 1994, and October 1995 (Part 3, Neighborhood Inventory Data). The sex, age, and behavior of the first ten people observed during the inventory period were recorded, as well as the number of people observed loitering. Other observations made included the number of panhandlers, prostitutes, open drug sales, and displays of public drunkenness. The number of residential and commercial properties, restaurants, bars, office buildings, empty lots, unboarded and boarded abandoned buildings, potholes, barriers (walls or fences), abandoned cars, and for-sale signs, along with the amount of graffiti on public and private properties and the amount of litter and broken glass observed in each neighborhood, completed the inventory data. Parts 4 and 5 both contain a monthly count of selected crime data for the public housing neighborhood, the comparison neighborhood, and the city of Spokane for the period January 1, 1992, through December 31, 1995. The difference between the two files is that Part 4 is disaggregated, meaning that for each month of a particular year, the total number of robberies, the total number of burglaries, and the total number of sex crimes are given separately for each of the three study areas. Part 5 does not report data on sex crimes, and for each study area, the total number of robberies and burglaries are combined and given for each month and year.

Response Rates:   Unknown.

Presence of Common Scales:   Several Likert-type scales were used in Parts 1 and 2.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-03-30 File CB2628.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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