This data collection is the result of an
evaluation of the NEPHU program, conducted by the Police Foundation
under the sponsorship of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). In
August 1989, the Bureau of Justice Assistance supported a grant in
Denver, Colorado, to establish a special Narcotics Enforcement in
Public Housing Unit (NEPHU) within the Denver Police Department. The
NEPHU program was primarily enforcement-oriented and employed
traditional policing methods, but the unit focused new energy and
resources on tackling drug problems in Denver's public housing units.
The NEPHU's six full-time officers (one lieutenant, one sergeant, and
four detectives) made investigations and gathered intelligence leading
to on-street arrests and search warrants. The unit also operated a
special telephone Drug Hotline and met regularly with tenant councils
in the developments to improve community relations. The program worked
in cooperation with the Denver Housing Authority and the uniformed
patrol division of the Denver Police Department, which increased
levels of uniformed patrols to maintain high visibility in these
areas, to deter conventional crime. The goal of the Denver NEPHU was
to reduce the availability of narcotics in and around the city's
public housing areas by increasing drug arrests. It was hoped that
this would, in turn, lower the incidence of both violent crimes and
property crimes, reduce residents' fear of crime, and increase
residents' confidence in the police.
With the assistance of the Denver Housing
Authority, two matched housing developments were selected in which to
monitor the progress of the NEPHU program. The Curtis Park Homes
development is located in northeast Denver. The population of this
area of Denver is predominantly American-born, of Mexican ancestry,
although the residents of the Curtis Park Homes are overwhelmingly
African-American. The Quigg Newton Homes development is located in
north Denver and has been predominantly Hispanic since the 1950s.
Using a panel design, survey interviews were conducted with residents
in these housing units, focusing on events that occurred during the
past six months. Respondents were interviewed during three time
periods to examine of the onset and persistence of any apparent
program effects. In December 1989, attempts were made to contact all
households in the two target developments. In June 1990, second-wave
interviewers revisited units where Wave 1 interviews had been
successfully completed and reinterviewed the original Wave 1
respondents if they still lived in the units. New respondents were
solicited if the Wave 1 respondents had moved from the households. The
third wave of the survey was conducted in December 1990. Interviewers
again revisited all the units in which interviews had been completed
in Wave 1, selecting replacement respondents if those interviewed in
the past had left the households. In all, 642 individuals were
interviewed, 283 of whom were interviewed for all three waves. A total
of 1,366 interviews were conducted. Because of the evaluation's
design, the data can be analyzed in two different ways. First,
responses by the 283 respondents who were interviewed on all three
occasions can be tracked to reveal individual-level changes in
experiences and opinions during 1990. Second, because of people
moving in and out of the projects during the course of the year, 359
"new" persons living in the target developments were interviewed
during the course of the evaluation. By including them, each wave of
interviews also produced more representative cross-sections of the
residents of Curtis Park and Quigg Newton at each point in time.
Two matched housing developments in Denver were chosen.
Out of 751 households in the two housing developments, interviews were
completed with residents in 521 households in Wave 1. Of these, 422
households were reinterviewed in Wave 2, and 423 were reinterviewed in
Wave 3. New respondents were solicited from the households if the
original respondents no longer lived there.
All public housing developments in Denver, Colorado, that
were targeted by the NEPHU program.
Information collected includes years and months
lived in the development, assessments of changes in the neighborhood,
whether the respondent planned to stay in the development,
interactions among residents, awareness of anti-drug programs, ranking
of various problems in the development, concerns and reports of being
a victim of various crimes, perceived safety of the development,
assessment of drug use and availability, assessment of police activity
and visibility, and personal contacts with police.
Several Likert-like scales were used.