Patrolling the Neighborhood Beat

Residents and Residential Security

by Robert K. Yin, Mary E. Vogel, Jan M. Chaiken, Deborah Both

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Assesses the existing knowledge of resident patrols — i.e., groups formed by residents themselves, or private guards hired by them, to patrol a residential neighborhood. The assessment both reviewed the existing literature (including other evaluation studies of patrols) and conducted new fieldwork, in which over 100 patrols were visited or interviewed at 16 urban sites across the country. The study found that resident patrols exist in moderate numbers in many urban places; that such patrols often reflect the initiatives of a small, informal group, such as a citizen-band-radio group; and that one type of patrol — that which monitors a specific building or housing project — appears to work effectively. The study makes no recommendations on whether government support of such activities should be encouraged, but if there is to be such support, the study identifies several useful points about the activities to be funded and the timing of such funding.

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