Methodological and Practical Issues in Evaluating Community Involvement in Public Safety Partnerships

James R. Coldren, Jr., University of Illinois at Chicago

Evaluating community involvement in public safety partnerships is one of the most challenging issues facing evaluators today. Community is, by definition, a broader, more diverse, and more amorphous group to reach, identify, and assess than their criminal justice system and local government partners. Notions of what does and does not constitute community "involvement" also varies from city to city, neighborhood to neighborhood, and is often shaped by the particular problem or situation addressed. Effectively assessing community involvement in such partnerships can, therefore, compel an evaluator to employ multiple quatitative and qualitative methods, as well as assessing and re-evaluating the traditional relationship between her/himself and her/his subject(s). This paper discusses how evaluators in the field are currently addressing these methodological and practical challenges.

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Updated 05/20/2006