Reducing Disorder, Fear, and Crime in Public Housing: A Case Study of Place Specific Crime Prevention

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1999


Despite the proliferation of programs developed to address crime at a neighborhood level, our knowledge base on the effectiveness of these efforts remains quite limited. This is particularly true of crime prevention efforts in and around public housing facilities. The present study is intended to shed light on the nature and effectiveness of a crime prevention effort centered in a public housing facility in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood in Spokane, Washington. Unlike most prior research on crime in public housing that has focused on large facilities, the present study focused on a small facility where the crime problems were centered on the streets surrounding the facility as opposed to crime within the facility itself. The findings suggest that collaborative efforts at reducing fear, crime, and disorder in and around public housing facilities hold promise for improving the quality of life for residents living in smaller public housing sites. These findings are particularly relevant when considering that most public housing facilities are relatively small and in light of the move away from the construction of large, high-rise, public housing facilities for the nation's poor.