“Quasi-experimental Research on Community Policing” In David Gadd, Susanne
Karstedt and Steven F. Messner (eds.), The Sage Handbook on Criminological
Research Methods. London: Sage Publications, 2011, 312-323.
This chapter describes an evaluation of community policing in Chicago. After a brief
planning period the program began in five (of 25) test police districts in April 1993. By
March 1995, important elements of the initiative were in place throughout the city. A team
of academic researchers headquartered at Northwestern University became involved in
evaluating this effort during its planning phase. Over the years more than 75 faculty,
students and researchers worked on the evaluation. Regular reports and three books
resulted from the project. The first analyzes the political origins of the program, its
planning and implementation, how the city staffed and paid for it, and the impact of
community policing in the five test districts where it was first set in motion. The second
assesses the program's problem-solving component. It presents a detailed, on-the-ground
description of police and community problem solving efforts in 15 selected areas of the
city. The final book describes the development of community policing in Chicago over a 12-
year span, and examines trends in crime, fear and satisfaction with policing in the city's
diverse neighborhoods. This chapter describes the evaluation and some of what we found.
Early sections introduce the evaluation and the program, and review the kinds of data we
gathered to assess its major components. There is a discussion of general issues that
drove the design and execution of the project. A final section places the findings for
Chicago in larger context, comparing them with the results of evaluations of other
community policing initiatives.