Quality of Life Policing in New York City: A Partial Evaluation based on Arrestee Self-Report and Official Data

Bruce D. Johnson, N. D. R. I., Inc.
Andrew Lang Golub, N. D. R. I., Inc.
Angela Taylor, N. D. R. I., Inc.
John Eterno, New York City Police Department

As partial evaluation of New York City's quality-of-life [QOL] policing initiatives, this presentation examines data from 892 New York City arrestees that completed an ADAM-Policing addendum in 1999. Three key sets of findings are highlighted. Regarding efficacy, arrestees reported an awareness of the QOL initiatives; many reported having stopped or reduced their involvement; most reducers cited a police presence (and not personal contact with the criminal justice system) as the reason. Apparently, QOL initiatives had an even broader general deterrent than specific deterrent effect. Regarding potential net widening, a comparison of arrestees for QOL and serious offenses found them to have similar prior records, race/ethnicity, and other characteristics. This suggests that New York City's QOL initiatives had not widened the criminal justice system's net (at least for arrests in late 1999); rather, QOL enforcement mostly provided an additional intervention into long-term, varied criminal careers. Regarding methodology, a validity analysis identified substantial variation in disclosure rates across persons and questions. These findings suggest when accurate self-reports may be obtained to questions about behaviors that are less easily verified.

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Updated 05/20/2006