Targeting Violent Crime in Small Communities: Balancing the Competing Demands of Intervention and Investment for Long-term Change

Ronald S. Everett, National Institute of Justice
Eric S. Jefferis, National Institute of Justice
Darrell Irwin, University of North Carolina - Wilmington

Based on the Federal crime intervention model of Strategic Approaches for Community Safety Initiative (SACSI), the community of Wilmington, NC addressed the problem of serious violent crime and drug distribution in and around five public housing communities. In this crime reduction strategy the local U.S. Attorney forms a partnership with Federal, State and local criminal justice agencies, community organizations and a research partner to address a crime problem identified within the community. SACSI crime intervention programs are intended to follow a specific model beginning with the use of data to identify and describe the problem and ending with evaluation to access the various impacts of the program. This investigation explores the changes overtime in the spatial distribution of violent crime within Wilmington and around the five identified public housing areas. The research specifically analyzes the distribution of violent and drug crimes in small areas after the arrest of identified serious high rate offenders. The relationship between the immediate crime reduction achieved by arrest and deterrence and the potential from community social control (collective efficacy) is explored. Finally, critical issues in the federalization of crime control are discussed within the context of the SACSI model and this specific partnership.

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Updated 05/20/2006