What Is the Impact of Neighborhood Policing in New York City?

Two NYPD officers speaks to men on a street corner

Photo by NYPD

In 2015, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) adopted Neighborhood Policing. The RAND Corporation, an independent, nonprofit research organization, is evaluating the impacts of Neighborhood Policing on crime, public safety, and the public’s trust in the police.

What are the goals of Neighborhood Policing?

Neighborhood Policing is designed to improve communication and collaboration between community residents and police officers while continuing to enhance NYPD’s crime fighting capabilities. As part of Neighborhood Policing, officers work in the same neighborhoods during the same shifts, increasing their familiarity with the local community and local issues. During their shifts, officers are given off-radio time to engage with neighborhood residents, identify problems, and work toward solutions. The steady geographic assignments and time away from dispatched calls for service help officers build relationships and foster community engagement.

Has Neighborhood Policing been effective in New York City?

RAND researchers will conduct an independent, rigorous evaluation to assess whether Neighborhood Policing has achieved its main goals: reducing crime, improving safety and respect between the NYPD and the communities it serves, and increasing collaborative problem-solving. RAND’s evaluation findings will help inform the NYPD’s decisions about how to improve Neighborhood Policing.

The evaluation will involve the participation of organizations and individuals throughout the city and within the NYPD, will inform the field of policing research, and will help the NYPD continue to improve Neighborhood Policing.

How will RAND evaluate Neighborhood Policing?

RAND’s evaluation will examine changes over time in crime, trust between the NYPD and residents, and other measures related to Neighborhood Policing. RAND will also document how the philosophy has changed over time and summarize lessons learned in areas that implemented the program first.

As part of the evaluation, the RAND team, with the participation of the NYPD and the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity1, will

  • conduct interviews with key stakeholders, including command staff in the NYPD
  • conduct focus groups and surveys with residents
  • survey NYPD officers
  • observe officers in the field
  • gather administrative data from the NYPD and socioeconomic data from other sources.

RAND will then analyze these data to examine whether and how Neighborhood Policing contributes to changes in crime levels, community trust, and other measures.

When will study results be available?

The two-and-a-half year evaluation began in late 2018 and will continue through mid-2021. RAND aims to have preliminary results available for the NYPD in 2019, and a final public report synthesizing all findings will be released in 2021.

Download this summary of RAND's evaluation of Neighborhood Policing (PDF)
  1. RAND is one of eight evaluation vendors on contract with the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity). NYC Opportunity partners with city agencies and other Mayoral offices to assist with evaluations of key citywide initiatives.