Evaluation of the Weed and Seed Initiative in the United States, 1994

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November 4, 2005

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alcohol abuse crime control crime rates crime reduction drug abuse drug traffic fear of crime households neighborhoods perceptions police effectiveness police response population characteristics public housing violence

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Neighbourhoods Neighborhood

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Jan Roehl, « Evaluation of the Weed and Seed Initiative in the United States, 1994 », Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, ID : 10.3886/ICPSR06789.v1


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The Department of Justice launched Operation Weed and Seed in 1991 as a means of mobilizing a large and varied array of resources in a comprehensive, coordinated effort to control crime and drug problems and improve the quality of life in targeted high-crime neighborhoods. In the long term, Weed and Seed programs are intended to reduce levels of crime, violence, drug trafficking, and fear of crime, and to create new jobs, improve housing, enhance the quality of neighborhood life, and reduce alcohol and drug use. This baseline data collection effort is the initial step toward assessing the achievement of the long-term objectives. The evaluation was conducted using a quasi-experimental design, matching households in comparison neighborhoods with the Weed and Seed target neighborhoods. Comparison neighborhoods were chosen to match Weed and Seed target neighborhoods on the basis of crime rates, population demographics, housing characteristics, and size and density. Neighborhoods in eight sites were selected: Akron, OH, Bradenton (North Manatee), FL, Hartford, CT, Las Vegas, NV, Pittsburgh, PA, Salt Lake City, UT, Seattle, WA, and Shreveport, LA. The "neighborhood" in Hartford, CT, was actually a public housing development, which is part of the reason for the smaller number of interviews at this site. Baseline data collection tasks included the completion of in-person surveys with residents in the target and matched comparison neighborhoods, and the provision of guidance to the sites in the collection of important process data on a routine uniform basis. The survey questions can be broadly divided into these areas: (1) respondent demographics, (2) household size and income, (3) perceptions of the neighborhood, and (4) perceptions of city services. Questions addressed in the course of gathering the baseline data include: Are the target and comparison areas sufficiently well-matched that analytic contrasts between the areas over time are valid? Is there evidence that the survey measures are accurate and valid measures of the dependent variables of interest -- fear of crime, victimization, etc.? Are the sample sizes and response rates sufficient to provide ample statistical power for later analyses? Variables cover respondents' perceptions of the neighborhood, safety and observed security measures, police effectiveness, and city services, as well as their ratings of neighborhood crime, disorder, and other problems. Other items included respondents' experiences with victimization, calls/contacts with police and satisfaction with police response, and involvement in community meetings and events. Demographic information on respondents includes year of birth, gender, ethnicity, household income, and employment status.

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