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Measuring Police-Community Interaction Variables in Indianapolis, 1999-2000 (ICPSR 4355) RSS

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Summary:

This study, funded under the Measuring What Matters Program, was conducted to identify general neighborhood strengthening, or community building, processes and police contributions to them. The purpose of the study, also known as the Police-Community Interaction Project (PCIP), was to conceive, identify, or define recognizable patterns of interaction and to find ways to treat these as quantities that vary in amount and can be shown to fluctuate over time or across places. To that end, researchers conducted surveys of block clubs, neighborhood associations, and umbrella groups to gauge the issues that were important to them, steps they were taking to address these issues, and the ways in which they interacted with the police. Researchers also attended the meetings and events held by the Westside Cooperative Organization (WESCO), an umbrella group, and gathered coded data about the meetings, events and issues discussed. Specific variables in the study include demographic variables about the blocks, neighborhoods, and districts represented by the organizations, descriptive variables on the organizations themselves, variables describing issues of importance to the organizations and steps those organizations were taking to address the issues, variables to describe the interaction between the organizations and police, and variables describing police involvement in community activities.

Access Notes

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Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  Block Club Survey Data
Documentation:
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No downloadable data files available.
DS2:  Neighborhood Survey Data
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No downloadable data files available.
DS3:  General Meeting Data
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No downloadable data files available.
DS4:  Issue-Level Meeting Data
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No downloadable data files available.

Study Description

Citation

Duffee, David, Steve Chermak, Edmund McGarrell, Brian C. Renauer, and Jason D. Scott. MEASURING POLICE-COMMUNITY INTERACTION VARIABLES IN INDIANAPOLIS, 1999-2000. ICPSR04355-v1. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice [producer], 2003. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor] 2007-06-28. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04355.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (97-IJ-CX-0052)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   community development, community involvement, community organizations, community participation, community policing, police community relations, police effectiveness, police training

Smallest Geographic Unit:   block club

Geographic Coverage:   Indiana, Indianapolis, United States

Time Period:  

  • 2000-09
  • 2000-11
  • 2000-08-28--2000-10-10
  • 1999-07--2000-06
  • 1999-07--2000-06

Date of Collection:  

  • 2000-09
  • 2000-11
  • 2000-08--2000-10
  • 1999-07--2000-06
  • 1999-07--2000-06

Unit of Observation:   Part 1: block club, Part 2: organization, Part 3: meeting, Part 4: issue

Universe:   Part 1: All block club members in the city of Indianapolis in September 2000. Part 2: All neighborhood and umbrella organizations in Indianapolis as of August 28, 2000. Part 3: All neighborhood and umbrella organization meetings and events in Westside Cooperative Organization (WESCO) from July 1999 to June 2000. Part 4: All issues discussed at all neighborhood and umbrella organization meetings and events in WESCO from July 1999 to June 2000.

Data Types:   event/transaction data, observational data, survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Data collected but not available as part of this collection include: data collected from approximately 50 ride-along hours with community policing officers, structured interviews with the district deputy police chief, the community relation's officer, neighborhood leaders, and other police officers that frequently attended community policing meetings, and from field note journals used by the graduate student coders during community meetings and events.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   To determine which, if any, of the many possible police-community interactions are really important for reducing crime, fear, and disorder, and for strengthening neighborhoods, people must first be able to describe a large number of these interactions in ways that will allow for meaningful comparison across time and across places. The purpose of this study was to conceive, identify, or define recognizable patterns of interaction and to find ways to treat these as quantities that vary in amount and could be shown to fluctuate over time or across places.

Study Design:   To identify general neighborhood strengthening processes and how police might connect with them, surveys of block clubs, neighborhood associations, and umbrella groups were conducted. Resident-based organizations in Indianapolis represent three distinct levels of aggregation that overlap one another. The smallest organizations represent block clubs. Neighborhood associations represent the next level of resident organization, and while the geographic boundaries of these organizations vary through the city, these organizations represent multiple blocks. Finally, the there are large district organizations called umbrella groups. These umbrella groups may represent from three to more than a dozen distinct but contiguous neighborhoods. These three levels of organization formed three separate availability samples. For Part 1, Block Club Survey Data, the block club sample consisted of a list of 930 block club participants throughout the city, maintained by the Indianapolis Police Department's (IPD) Crime Watch Coordinator. The block club survey was conducted using a written survey sent by mail because the telephone numbers of the block club participants were not available. The first wave of the block club survey was mailed to all 930 residents in September 2000. This initial mailing contained an introductory letter, a sponsorship letter from the IPD Chief of Police, a self-addressed postcard used to request a final report, and a copy of the instrument. A second wave containing a follow-up letter, the sponsorship letter, the postcard, and another copy of the instrument was mailed in November 2000 after removing approximately 100 invalid addresses. The data contain responses from 144 surveys. For Part 2, Neighborhood Survey Data, interviews of the neighborhood associations and umbrella groups were conducted over the phone. Using the list of registered organizations maintained by the Department of Metropolitan Development (DMD) and Geographic Information System (GIS) software, the boundaries of the organizations were cross-referenced with the jurisdictional boundaries of the IPD. Neighborhood and umbrella organizations falling outside the boundaries of the IPD were then eliminated from the sample. At the beginning of the interview period there were 131 neighborhood associations and 31 umbrella groups represented in the directory. A pre-survey letter was mailed to the neighborhood and umbrella sample respondents prior to the start of calling to introduce the study and to establish a convenient time to conduct the interview. All cases with confirmed valid telephone numbers were called up to 15 times, unless the respondent refused or there was insufficient time before the end of the study. Cases with unknown validity (persistent no answers or answering devices) were called a minimum of eight times, with calls made during the morning, afternoon, evening, and on weekends. After eliminating invalid phone numbers and numbers with unknown validity, the final sample was reduced to 117 neighborhood associations and 29 umbrella groups. Interviews were conducted between August 28, 2000, and October 10, 2000, and lasted an average of 58 minutes. Prior to conducting the surveys of the block clubs, neighborhood associations and umbrella groups, researchers attended community meetings and events where -- both police and residents were in attendance -- to examine police involvement in community activities. Researchers focused on the Westside Cooperative Organization (WESCO), an umbrella group comprised of three neighborhood associations (Stringtown, Hawthorne, and Haughville) with differing histories, demographics, and resident leadership. Part 3, General Meeting Data, contains data about the meetings and events, collected using two complementary coding strategies. Graduate student coders were asked to complete a code sheet for every meeting or event attended to capture general information about the meeting. For Part 4, Issue-Level Meeting Data, coders were also asked to complete a code sheet for every issue discussed at a meeting or event. From July 1999 through June 2000, 31 meetings and events were attended with 191 issues discussed.

Sample:   The sample for Part 1 was taken from a list of block club participants maintained by the Indianapolis Police Department's (IPD) Crime Watch Coordinator. The original list consisted of 930 residents throughout the city. The first wave of block club surveys was mailed to all of the 930 residents in September 2000. A second, follow-up wave of block club surveys was mailed in November 2000 after removing approximately 100 invalid addresses. From these mailings, 144 completed surveys were returned. There was some evidence that the original mailing list maintained by the IPD Crime Watch Coordinator contained individuals who were not involved in a block club. Police administrators within each of the department's districts were asked to review the mailing list to eliminate individuals whom they knew not to be associated with Indianapolis block clubs. These corrections suggested that an additional 150 individuals should have been eliminated from the original mailing, resulting in a smaller final population. Also, while the final report indicates 143 surveys were completed and returned, the Part 1 data includes 144 cases. For Part 2, using the list of registered neighborhood and umbrella organizations maintained by the Department of Metropolitan Development (DMD) and Geographic Information System (GIS) software, the boundaries of the organizations were cross-referenced with the jurisdictional boundaries of the IPD. Neighborhood and umbrella organizations falling outside the boundaries of the IPD were eliminated. At the beginning of the interview period, August 28, 2000, there were 131 neighborhood organizations and 31 umbrella organizations represented in the directory. After eliminating invalid phone numbers and numbers with unknown validity, the final sample sizes were reduced to 117 for the neighborhood sample and 29 for the umbrella sample. Part 3 includes the 31 neighborhood and umbrella organization meetings and events attended by coders from July 1999 to June 2000. Coders attended seven Westside Cooperative Organization (WESCO) Umbrella Organization meetings, eight WESCO Community Policing meetings, two Haughville Neighborhood Association Meetings, five Stringtown Neighborhood Association Meetings, two Hawthorne Neighborhood Association Meetings, two Community Task Force Meetings, and five WESCO Community Events. Part 4 includes the 191 issues discussed during the meetings attended by coders from July 1999 to June 2000.

Weight:   none

Mode of Data Collection:   mail questionnaire, telephone interview, coded on-site observation

Description of Variables:   Part 1, Block Club Survey Data, variables include how long the block club had been established, the number of members, the frequency and attendance of general meetings, the frequency and attendance of board meetings, and the boundaries of the block club. Other variables include issues of importance to the block club such as traffic, public services, reducing personal crime, property crime, social disorder, physical decay, local economic development, landlords, reputation of the area, police respect, police listening, the need for more police, and what steps the block club had taken to address these issues. Part 1 also includes demographic and descriptive variables of the blocks and block club such as the economic condition and predominate race of the block, block violence and crime, if the block club had trouble attracting any particular demographic segment of the block to join the block club, if block residents addressed problems such as graffiti, broken street lights, and loud music, and if the block was close-knit with shared values and neighbors helping each other. Finally, Part 1 includes variables describing the interaction between the block and police such as if there were permanently assigned beat officers on the block, if police informed residents about crime and tried to identify the causes of crime, if police encouraged residents to get to know each other and work together, and if the police were accessible to residents. Part 2, Neighborhood Survey Data, variables include the number of years the neighborhood or umbrella group had been established, the number of members, the frequency and attendance of general meetings, the frequency and attendance of board meetings, and the boundaries of the organization. The file also includes variables on issues that were important to the neighborhood and umbrella groups such as traffic problems, public services, property crime, personal crime, social disorder, physical decay, police respect, police listening, police protection, local economic development, absent landlords, the reputation of the area, and what steps the organizations had taken to address these issues. Part 2 also includes variables about the police such as permanent beat officers assigned, if the police informed residents about crime, if they worked to determine the causes of problems, if they coordinated with other city agencies to address problems, whether they encouraged residents to work together, if they were involved in community events, were accessible to residents, and if the quality of police and public services was the same as in other neighborhoods. Lastly, Part 2 includes demographic and descriptive variables about the neighborhoods such as the predominate racial, ethnic, and economic makeup of the neighborhood, neighborhood violence and crime, if the organization had trouble attracting any particular demographic segment of the neighborhood to join the organization, if residents addressed problems such as graffiti, broken street lights, and loud music, and if the neighborhood was close-knit, with shared values and with neighbors who helped each other. Part 3, General Meeting Data, variables include the type of meeting, the number of residents present, and what types of groups were present at the meeting such as the police, other law enforcement representatives, government agencies, private businesses, schools, faith-based organizations, private social service, health or mental health organizations, block clubs, tenant groups, homeowners groups, neighborhood associations, umbrella groups, and community development corporations. Part 4, Issue-Level Meeting Data, includes variables on the type of meeting, if the issue raised came from the agenda, who raised the issue, the type of discussion about the issue (such as a discussion of goals/problems, means/solutions, resources, or the division of labor), if the discussion was balanced, and what type of decisions, if any, were reached about the issue.

Response Rates:   Part 1: Of the 830 surveys mailed to valid addresses, 143 usable surveys were returned for a response rate of 17 percent. Part 2: Of the 117 neighborhood organizations called, 83 of them, or 71 percent, completed telephone surveys. Of the 29 umbrella organizations called, 16 of them, or 55 percent, completed telephone surveys. Part 3 and Part 4: Not applicable.

Presence of Common Scales:   Parts 1-2: Several Likert-type scales were used. Parts 3-4: None.

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.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

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