Does the placement of hundreds of adult monitors on designated streets around schools reduce reported crime? This is the question explored in a new study published this week in Criminal Justice Policy Review by UMBC School of Public Policy assistant professor F. Chris Curran.
The study examines how the Chicago Safe Passage program, which places workers on designated “safe passage” streets around schools during morning and afternoon commute times, influences crime reported around schools. “The Chicago Safe Passage program is remarkable in its scale, currently employing over 1,000 monitors and serving nearly 160 schools; yet, to date, little empirical research had examined school district claims that the program reduces crime”, notes Dr. Curran. The study examines the 2013-14 expansion of the program which followed a wave of school closings in Chicago.
The results provide mixed evidence of the program’s effectiveness at reducing reported crime. “On the one hand, this research shows that Safe Passage may have reduced reported crime by 5 to 17% on designated street segments compared to blocks nearby”, Dr. Curran commented. “However, the reductions were seen both on school days and weekends, suggesting that the effect may not be solely attributable to the presence of Safe Passage workers. Furthermore, Safe Passage does not appear to have reduced overall crime around designated schools – with Safe Passage not appearing to reduce reported crime within a quarter mile of participating schools”, he added.
The study provides the first peer-reviewed evidence on Safe Passage while also suggesting the need for future work to examine the program’s impact on academic outcomes like feelings of safety, attendance, and achievement.
The full study can be found here.