Significant Reduction in violent crime.
The following comes from a Press Release by the City of Clarksdale.
The City has completed the data analysis on a two year project, funded by the Walton Family Foundation, to remove dilapidated structures in specific locations and study the effects of the cleanup project on crime in each of the focus areas. It is seen as a test of the Broken Window Syndrome Theory advanced in the 1980’s which asserts that abandoned and dilapidated structures in an area that are not repaired encourage further destruction and promote criminal activity.
The Clarksdale Police Department has long known that empty and abandoned houses in a neighborhood are often used for drug and gang activities and to serve as stash places for stolen property to be moved later.
The project called for the removal of 60 dilapidated houses in selected areas over a period of two years and to track crime in those areas during the grant period to test the results. A base line of criminal activity in each area was established using the City’s Uniform Crime Report which breaks criminal behavior into various categories and is a standard reporting form that is used by the FBI to compile crime statistics nationwide. These stats are further broken out by patrol areas within the community providing a better picture of patterns in the study areas.
The study appeared to validate the Broken Window Syndrome Theory as crime was reduced in most categories and in each study area. The report shows an overall continuing reduction in crime. In City wide figures the impact is particularly significant with a reduction in violent crime by 44% and property crime by 23.3%between March 2014 and April 2016. So far in the 2016-2017 time frame, violent crime has dropped 27% and property crime by 20%.
Many activities undertaken by the City, Public Works and the Clarksdale Police Department go unrecognized. This project is one that has shown positive results from a proactive program to reduce crime and improve the appearance of neighborhoods. The City Mayor expressed his appreciation for the Walton Family Foundation’s assistance in making this project possible.