Reducing Fear of Crime in Houston and Newark. Washington DC: National Institute of
Justice/Police Foundation, February, 1986.
In cooperation with the police departments of Houston and Newark, and the active support of
the National Institute of Justice, the Police Foundation put to the test a variety of methods
intended to reduce fear, improve the quality of neighborhood life, and increase popular
satisfaction with police services.  The report that follows summarizes those experiments.
Among the concrete lessons of those experiments are these: 1) In Houston, where the
population is growing rapidly, densities are low, and neighborhoods are new, opening a
neighborhood police station, contacting the citizens about their problems, and stimulating the
formation of neighborhood organizations where none had existed helped reduce the fear of
crime and the actual level of victimization.  2) The value of these organizing and
communicating efforts seem to be greatest for white, middle-class homeowners and least for
black renters.  This suggests that not every strategy works equally well for every group.  3) In
an older, more disadvantaged city such as Newark, many of the same steps – including
opening a storefront police office and directing the police to make contacts with citizens in their
homes – also had beneficial effects, especially when they were supplemented with aggressive
efforts to enforce the law and maintain order in those neighborhoods.  4) Police officers often
resist being assigned to making citizen contacts, running a storefront office, or organizing
neighborhood meetings.  “It’s not real police work”, but in Houston and Newark that initial
resistance soon gave way to enthusiasm when the officers realized how receptive the citizens
were, how much information the police thereby obtained, and how appreciate most people
were for the attention paid to their problems.   5) Helping citizens reduce their fear of crime in
ways that improve satisfaction with police services requires a proactive strategy–it is not
enough to respond to spontaneous requests for information, attend the meetings of groups
already organized, or wait for citizens to come to headquarters. There must be a positive
outreach program designed to crate interest, meetings, and inquiries.  6) Like all aspects of
good police work, the community-contact strategy requires careful planning, training, and
supervision and the recruitment of able personnel.  7) Learning what works in any city requires
a commitment to the experimental method, in which a new tactic is tried in a way that permits a
systematic, unbiased evaluation of its outcome.
Disorder and Crime