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Reporting of Drug-Related Crimes: Resident and Police Perspectives in the United States, 1988-1990

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Davis, Robert C. (American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section)
  • Smith, Barbara E. (American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section)
  • Hillenbrand, Susan W. (American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section)
Other Title
  • Version 1 (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice
Free Keywords
citizen crime reporting; community involvement; crime prevention; crime reporting; drug related crimes; fear of crime; fire protection; municipal services; neighborhood conditions; neighborhoods; police officers; police protection
  • Abstract

    This data collection investigates the ways in which police use reports of drug-related crimes provided by residents of high drug/crime areas and how willing residents of these areas are to report such crimes to the police. Structured interviews were conducted by telephone with police representatives in most of the nation's 50 largest cities and in person with residents and police officers in high drug/crime districts in each of four major cities: Newark, Chicago, El Paso, and Philadelphia. Police department representatives were queried about the usefulness of citizen reports, reasons for citizens' reluctance to make reports, how the rate of citizen reports could be improved, and how citizen reports worked with other community crime prevention strategies. Residents were asked about their tenure in the neighborhood, attitudes toward the quality of life in the neighborhood, major social problems facing the neighborhood, and quality of city services such as police and fire protection, garbage collection, and public health services. Additional questions were asked about the amount of crime in the neighborhood, the amount of drug use and drug-related crime, and the fear of crime. Basic demographic information such as sex, race, and language in which the interview was conducted is also provided.
  • Abstract

    The American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section conducted this study to determine how police use reports of drug-related crimes provided by residents of high-drug crime areas, and how willing residents of these areas are to make such reports. The project was designed to take a careful look at citizen reporting of drug activity. The study attempts to answer three key questions. First, how important to the police are citizen reports of drug activity, which types of reports are most useful, and what can be done on the basis of citizen reports? Second, what is the extent to which residents of high drug-crime neighborhoods are reluctant to make reports to the police, and are they more willing to report other types of crime? Third, what reasons do they give for their reluctance? The study finds its theoretical basis in the literature available on bystander intervention in crime, crime reporting by victims, and community crime prevention. In order to gather the information, interviews were conducted with the supervisors of police narcotics units in 46 cities. Interviews were also conducted with 100 residents of high drug-activity neighborhoods in each of the four cities chosen for in-depth investigation. Site visits and interviews with other officials in these cities were also undertaken. Answers to the questions were expected to help the authors in recommending steps to the police.
  • Abstract

    The four cities were chosen on the basis of geographic diversity, level of cooperation of the police departments, and travel costs. The police officials in each city then selected two precincts with high incidences of drug-related crime. Schulman, Ronca, and Bucuvalas, Inc. then used a selection grid to randomly choose five neighborhood blocks and two alternate blocks from each precinct as sampling units. Using a calculated interval based on the total number of housing units, specific definitions of what a housing unit consists of, and specific boundaries for each block, housing units in each block were then systematically listed. Following similar guidelines, a listing was made for each building and then for each household interviewed. The interviews were then conducted from scripted questionnaires by trained personnel.
  • Abstract

    Interviews covered topics including the perceived effectiveness of the police department, the quality of police-community interaction, the conditions of the neighborhoods visited, the nature of drug activity in the neighborhoods, reporting options for citizens, and police response to reports, as well as reasons governing reporting or reluctance to report.
  • Methods

    ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection: Standardized missing values.; Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes..
  • Methods

    Presence of Common Scales: None.
  • Methods

    Response Rates: Newark residents: 60.2 percent, El Paso residents: 80.0 percent, Chicago residents: 73.8 percent, Philadelphia residents: 51.8 percent. For telephone interviews with the police in the 50 largest cities: 46 out of 50 cities responded.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: Citizen Survey Data
    • DS2: Drug-Related Crimes Data
    • DS3: SAS Data Definition Statements for Citizen Survey Data
    • DS4: SAS Data Definition Statements for Drug-Related Crimes Data
Temporal Coverage
  • 1988 / 1990
    Time period: 1988--1990
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Police departments and neighborhoods across the United States.
Telephone interviews with police representatives in the 50 largest cities of the United States were conducted. Based on 46 of these interviews, four cities (Newark, Chicago, El Paso, and Philadelphia) were chosen for more intensive investigation. Site visits were made to all four cities, and in addition to interviews with local officials, 50 residents in each of two neighborhoods in all four cities were interviewed. The neighborhoods chosen were in precincts recommended by the police.
2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions. Funding insitution(s): United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (88-IJ-CX-0032).
This study is freely available to the general public via web download.
Alternative Identifiers
  • 9925 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Smith, B.E., Davis, R.C., Hillenbrand, S.W., Goretsky, S.R.. Ridding Neighborhoods of Drug Houses in The Private Sector, Executive Summary. NCJ 146143, Washington, DC: United States Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. 1992.
  • (author unknown). A National Survey on Neighborhood Reporting of Drug Crimes. Methodology Report.New York, NY: Schulman, Ronca, and Bucuvalas, Inc.. 1990.
  • Davis, Robert C., Smith, Barbara E., Hillenbrand, Susan W.. Reporting of Drug-Related Crimes: Resident and Police Perspectives. NCJ 138851, Washington, DC: United States Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. 1990.
    • ID: (URL)

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

Davis, Robert C.; Smith, Barbara E.; Hillenbrand, Susan W. (1993): Reporting of Drug-Related Crimes: Resident and Police Perspectives in the United States, 1988-1990. Version 1. Version: v1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.