A Guide to Evaluating Crime Control in Public Housing and How to Conduct Victimization Surveys: A Workbook

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Release Date: 

  • April 1997

Posted Date:   

  • April 1, 1997
 
 
 
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Controlling crime is one of the most urgent challenges facing many public housing agencies (PHAs). To help evaluate their efforts, HUD has developed two practical new management tools: A Guide to Evaluating Crime Control in Public Housing and How to Conduct Victimization Surveys: A Workbook. An effective evaluation can answer questions such as: Are current programs leading to improvements in resident safety? What works best to reduce violence and crime in public housing communities?

A Guide to Evaluating Crime Control in Public Housing takes PHA managers and their local partners step-by-step through critical issues in the evaluation process from preparing for an evaluation and collecting information to reporting findings.

Preparing for an evaluation. Managers should initiate evaluations during the earliest stages of program implementation, according to the guide, so that any needed program modifications can be made as soon as possible. PHAs with staff know-how but perhaps limited evaluation funds may put together the evaluation team from inhouse resources, while PHAs with greater financial resources might prefer to select a team of researchers from a local university or private firm. Collecting information. The guide suggests that managers ask three questions to help narrow the list of information sources for an evaluation: What sources are likely to provide the most accurate information? What information is the least costly to obtain? Will information collection impose an undue burden on the respondents? With sensitivity to cultural diversity in mind, evaluators should ensure that survey questions will be readily understood by respondents.

Reporting findings. The guide provides a sample outline of an evaluation report that can be modified to present program findings for different audiences. PHA staff can use evaluation reports as feedback to increase program effectiveness. Managers can present them to current and potential funding sources and community partners as a way of gaining new resources. Managers may also want to share evaluation findings with other PHAs, advocacy organizations, and the general public.

Surveys are an important evaluation tool. PHA managers can use How to Conduct Victimization Surveys: A Workbook before a prevention program begins and then again after the program has been in place for a time. Comparing the two survey rounds can help managers determine program effectiveness. The workbook covers questionnaire design, sampling methodology, survey preparation, data collection, data processing and analysis, and interviewer training. Included are several handy resources, such as an interviewer field manual and examples of a letter explaining the survey to potential participants, a consent form, and a publicity flyer.

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