Despite the amount of effort devoted to drug
control in public housing, relatively little attention has been
devoted to the problem of quantifying public housing crime. This
study was conducted to provide an objective, quantitative description
of the extent and nature of crime in selected public housing
developments, an area where sound, empirical information was found to
be lacking. Three major questions guided the research: (1) How can
crime problems in housing developments be quantified using existing
records? (2) What are the rates of drug and other serious offenses in
conventional public housing developments, and how do these rates
compare to rates city-wide and in urban neighborhoods close to public
housing? (3) What is the extent of variation in offense rates among
individual housing developments?
The investigators selected three major United
States cities and, within those cities, selected 29 housing
developments. City police departments were asked to provide
incident-based, machine-readable files of all offenses and arrests
that occurred between 1986 and 1989 for the areas in the study.
Demographic information for the housing developments and nearby
neighborhoods was developed from Census Bureau data and from information on
resident populations collected by housing authorities in compliance
with regulations of the United States Department of Housing and Urban
Three cities were selected, and within them 29 housing
projects were selected.
Public housing projects in Los Angeles, California,
Phoenix, Arizona, and Washington, DC.
The units of observation are the housing
projects and nearby neighborhoods.
city police department offense and arrest files,
housing authority information, and census data
administrative records data
Variables cover study site, origin of data, year of
event, offense codes, and location of event. Los Angeles files also
include police division.