Community Mobilization for Community Policing

J. Erik Gudell and Wesley G. Skogan

This report describes an experiment in Chicago aimed at creating community capacity for self help in neighborhoods where that had been lost. Beginning in 1998, the city deployed a cadre of organizers charged with rebuilding the capacity of some of its most troubled communities. Some worked directly under the supervision of the city while others were on the staff of neighborhood organizations. The evaluation described in this report began at about the same time. Evaluation staff interviewed the participants and monitored the activities of the organizers as they worked in selected beats. A survey was conducted to profile conditions in the beats that were first involved in the program, and a few were re-surveyed to monitor changes that may have taken place there over time. This report summarizes the researchers' conclusions about a number of the issues the evaluation addressed. These included: What do community organizers do to build community capacity? What were the impediments to their organizing efforts? What projects did they succeed in bringing to fruition? And were there any changes in neighborhood conditions that might be tied to their efforts?

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