“Measuring What Matters: Crime, Disorder, and Fear.” National Institute of Justice:
Proceedings From the Policing Research Institute Meetings, July 1999 (NCJ 170610),
p. 37-54.
  This chapter considers two issues: 1) measuring the possible effects of an innovative
policing program, and 2) doing so in a framework that could support the inference that the
program caused variations that the measurements might reveal.  Measurement involves
(among other things) the collection of data that represent–sometimes only indirectly–the
problems that programs target.  These are “outcome” measures, and it is vital that they
represent the scope of a program’s intentions as accurately as possible. One cannot divorce
what is measured from how the measures can be linked causally to programs. What
evaluators call the “logic model” of a program–how, exactly, it is supposed to have its desired
effect–needs to be specified clearly enough that appropriate outcomes can be identified and
their measures specified.  For instance, if evaluating a crime prevention program, exactly what
kinds of crimes involving what kinds of victims during what periods of the day or night should
we examine for evidence of impact? This essay focuses on measurement issues, but it
addresses issues through concrete examples of how measures have been used to make
judgements about the impact of programs.  It examines some of the experiences the
evaluation community has had in taking the vital signs of a community by measuring crime,
disorder, and fear.
Disorder and Crime