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UNDERSTANDING & MONITORING THE "WHYS" BEHIND JUVENILE CRIME TRENDS

Award Information

Award #
2001-JN-FX-K001
Location
Congressional District
Status
Closed
Funding First Awarded
2001
Total funding (to date)
$2,249,290
Original Solicitation

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2001, $249,957)

Project summary for 2001-JN-FX-K001 S-1

"Understanding the 'Whys' Behind Juvenile Crime Trends" is potentially a five-year project which aims to: 1) explain the downturn in most measures of juvenile crime that began in about 1993 for most types of crime in most large jurisdictions, following a large increase between about 1986 and about 1992; and 2) develop a projection model that local practitioners could use to predict turning points in their juvenile crime trends, based on locally available data. During this period, the research team will complete a report that describes juvenile crime trends from 1980 to the present; inventories and evaluates hypothesized explanations of the trends and classifies them in terms of their probable explanatory power. For those explanations that require further testing, special analyses will be undertaken of several databases including Census 2000, the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), the OJJDP-funded Pittsburgh Youth Study (PYS), as well as jurisdictional arrest and juvenile court data collected and maintained by the National Center for Juvenile Justice. They will also develop a design for testing neighborhood-level explanatory hypotheses in a six-site sample, recruit, and select participating sites. Based on this work, OJJDP will decide on future funding of the project.

ca/ncf

During year one, a consortium led by the University of Pennsylvania, including the University of Maryland and the National Center for Juvenile Justice, will lay the groundwork for and convene three working groups that will: 1) describe the trends using selected measures of juvenile crime available at the local and national level; 2) develop working hypotheses to explain changes based on research literature and public commentary; and, 3) develop mechanisms to field test the hypotheses, specifying the type of data that would be gathered from various jurisdictions depending on the nature of the test. The study team will also assess the utility and feasibility of proceeding with the test phase.

The consortium will document the study findings, and if determined to be feasible, recommend the next steps to develop "leading indicators" of future juvenile crime trends.

The Whys Project, a 5-year research project, has two complementary aims: 1) to explain the downturn in most measures of violent juvenile crime that began in about 1993 following a large increase between about 1986 and about 1992; and 2) to develop a projection model that local practitioners can use to predict turning points in their juvenile crime trends, based on locally available data.

During this current funding period, the project team will work with three local jurisdictions to implement a technology for small-area monitoring of leading indicators of juvenile offending and using those trends to forecast changes in juvenile crime trends. The technology is CrimeBase, a web-based tool for aggregating geocodable incident data to Census blocks, linking it to Census records and other data, then facilitating manipulation of the block-level data into areas such as police sectors, neighborhood planning districts, or any user-defined geography. While a general methodology for developing local forecasting tools will be used, the application of CrimeBase for each partner will require tailoring the forecasting tool in light of variations in data availability. The team will test the usability and predictive accuracy of the forecasting tool. Success benchmarks will be: installation of the CrimeBase and prediction tools; compilation of the database designed jointly by staff of our team and the local host organization; predictive accuracy of the forecasting tool; and the local staff's satisfaction with the tools and skill in using them. The final phaes of the project will consist of data collection, analysis, model refinement and dissemination of findings. CA/NCF

The Whys Project has two complementary aims: 1) to explain the downturn in most measures of violent juvenile crime that began in about 1993 following a large increase between about 1986 and about 1992; and 2) to develop a projection model that local practitioners can use to predict turning points in their juvenile crime trends, based on locally available data. This is potentially a 5-year research project consisting of three phases. During this current funding period, the research team will complete a report that describes juvenile crime trends from 1980 to the present and evaluates hypothesized explanations of the trends, classifying them in terms of their probable explanatory power. For those explanations that require further testing, special analyses will be undertaken using several national data bases, including Census 2000, the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), the OJJDP-funded Pittsburgh Youth Study (PYS), as well as jurisdictional arrest and juvenile court data collected and maintained by the National Center for Juvenile Justice. In addition, work will begin on developing and testing predictive models at the local level in a six-site sample. The research team will recruit, and select sites to participate in the research. Later phases of the project will consist of data collection, analysis, model refinement and dissemination of findings.

CA/NCF

The Whys Project, a 5-year research project, has two complementary aims: 1) to explain the downturn in most measures of violent juvenile crime that began in about 1993 following a large increase between about 1986 and about 1992; and 2) to develop a projection model that local practitioners can use to predict turning points in their juvenile crime trends, based on locally available data.

During this current funding period, the project team will work with three local jurisdictions to implement a technology for small-area monitoring of leading indicators of juvenile offending and using those trends to forecast changes in juvenile crime trends. The technology is CrimeBase, a web-based tool for aggregating geocodable incident data to Census blocks, linking it to Census records and other data, then facilitating manipulation of the block-level data into areas such as police sectors, neighborhood planning districts, or any user-defined geography. While a general methodology for developing local forecasting tools will be used, the application of CrimeBase for each partner will require tailoring the forecasting tool in light of variations in data availability. The team will test the usability and predictive accuracy of the forecasting tool. Success benchmarks will be: installation of the CrimeBase and prediction tools; compilation of the database designed jointly by staff of our team and the local host organization; predictive accuracy of the forecasting tool; and the local staff's satisfaction with the tools and skill in using them. The final phaes of the project will consist of data collection, analysis, model refinement and dissemination of findings. CA/NCF

This award will provide funds to the University of Pennsylvania's Jerry Lee Center of Criminology to complete activities in the project, 'Understanding the 'Whys' Behind Juvenile Crime Trends.' In 2001, OJJDP awarded this project to examine the various explanations that have been offered for the drop in juvenile crime during the 1990s, and to assess the utility of the different explanations in developing strategies to prevent and reduce crime in the future. With this final supplemental award in 2005, the grantee will (1) develop practical applications of knowledge developed earlier in the project about influences on juvenile crime trends; (2) work with 3 to 4 local jurisdictions to implement a technology for small-area monitoring of leading indicators of juvenile offending; and (3) use those trends to forecast changes in juvenile crime trends. In addition, the grantee will continue to disseminate the findings of the study to date through a series of papers and conference presentations. CA/NCF

Date Created: February 1, 2001