“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