Impact of Crime on Mixed and Elderly Housing

Dennis W. Roncek, University of Nebraska at Omaha

The proposed project will assess variations in aspects of crime, fear of crime, and disorder in Omaha's high-rise public housing for mixed populations and the elderly. The project will be conducted in partnership with the Omaha Police Department and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The immediate goals of the project are to understand: (1) the differences in the crime experiences and fear of crime in high-rise housing used for elderly from those found in high-rises with substantially mixed elderly-disabled-handicapped residents; (2) the relationship between the mixing of these different populations to both drug- and alcohol use-related problems in and around the high-rises; and (3) the effectiveness and conequences of the use of the housing authority's "banned and barred" and "one strike and you're out" policies on illegal drug activity in and nearby the high-rise developments. The longer-term goal is to provide the housing authority with improved capability for monitoring both drug-related (including alcohol) and non-drug-related problems including crime in all of its public housing and then to develop strategies for reducing these problems. The proposed research will employ a multi-site longitudinal design to evaluate the impact of the use of high-rise towers for mixed populations and for the elderly on crime, victimization, and fear of crime while focusing on the relationships of these to drug and alcohol use in and around the developments. Two high-rises for the elderly and two high-rises for mixed populations will be the subjects of the study. The project will create a computerized database of incidents of crime and other disorders that includes indicators of drug and alcohol abuse known to the housing authority for three years prior to the beginning of the study. This database will provide the context of problems in and around the high-rises in the recent past and evaluate the quality of recorded information. A similar database of incidents reported to the housing authority and police will be created for a one year period after the conversion of the two high-rises to elderly occupancy.

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Updated 05/20/2006