"Evaluating Community Policing in Chicago," in Policing and Program Evaluation,
edited by Kent R. Kerley. New York: Prentice Hall, 2005, 27-41.
This chapter examines the impact of Chicago's community policing experiment on neighborhood problems.
It comes at a time when there is interest around the world in developing new approaches to policing and in
systematically assessing how well they work. These twin interests call for two kinds of evaluations. Process
evaluations examine program design and implementation. They document a program's "theory," or how its
developers thought it was supposed to work. Process evaluations also document the actual implementation
of the program, for there is often a gap between plans and reality. Impact evaluations analyze the effects that
a program had on the problems that it targeted, and if the program had unexpected or unintended
consequences as well. The strength of an impact evaluation is dependent on its design and how well it
measures what the program might accomplish.
This chapter describes an evaluation of a community policing program in Chicago. It was both a process
and an impact evaluation, although this chapter will focus on what our team (made up of academic
researchers headquartered at Northwestern University) found out about the consequences of the program
for the city's residents. The first section describes the program and the evaluation. The next documents the
analytic approach that was adopted that enabled us to assess the impact.
"Community Policing in Chicago," In Geoffrey Alpert and Alex Piquero (eds.),
Community Policing. Prospect Heights, IL" Waveland Press, 1998, 159-174.
This chapter describes Chicago's community policing program. The city's experiment with community
policing began in April 1993. For more than a year the Police Department had worked on a plan for
Chicago's Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) and laid the groundwork for implementing it in selected
districts. At the heart of the plan lay the reorganization of policing around small geographical areas, the city's
279 police beats. Officers assigned to beat teams were expected to engage in identifying and dealing with a
broad range of neighborhood problems in partnership with neighborhood residents and community
organizations. To give them time to do this, some of the burden of responding to 911 calls was shifted to
rapid response teams, and tactical units, youth officers, and detectives were expected to work more closely
in support of beat officers. All of these officers shared responsibility for meeting and working with members
of the community on a regular basis at beat meetings. At the district level, advisory committees were formed
to review issues of wider scope and to discuss strategic issues with district commanders. A prioritizing
system was developed for coordinating the delivery of municipal services to support local problem-solving
efforts, and new computer technology began to be introduced that would support the analysis of local crime
problems. In the sections that follow, this chapter evaluates this ambitious program. First it lays down some
general principles describing what community policing is, and then it describes key elements of the city's
program to see how well they fit the model. Next it briefly describes the findings of an evaluation that
examined the impact of community policing on the quality of life in five pilot districts. Further details about
the project can be found in Skogan and Hartnett, 1997.
Chicago Community Policing (CAPS) Abstracts