The overall evaluation strategy for the Center from 2010-2015 was based on several components. We examined spatial analysis of crime incidents, community survey data and hospital injury data in the intervention neighborhood, in comparison to all other neighborhoods across the city. We also compared the outcomes in the intervention area to a comparison area with similar characteristics. In addition, we conducted a process evaluation of each individual program and an overall evaluation of the Center.
There were three main components for the MI-YVPC evaluation:
According to Broken Windows Theory, neighborhood social and physical disorganization may encourage vandalism and violence, and over time, minor forms of public disorder eventually lead to urban decay and more serious crime. On the other hand, tending of vacant properties and other improvements to the physical environment may encourage community engagement and discourage crime and violence. To assess changes in the physical neighborhoods, we developed a parcel assessment tool, called the Property Maintenance Observation Tool and collected data about over 10,000 parcels in the intervention area and comparison area. Through these annual parcel assessments, we are measuring property maintenance and improvement with the intervention area and comparing it to a neighborhood with similar characteristics.
Each summer, teams of trained observers walked and drove through the intervention and comparison neighborhoods to assess the condition of the properties. In addition to rating the overall condition of the buildings, lawns, and landscaping, the teams assessed whether the properties were occupied or vacant, had broken and/or boarded windows and doors, graffiti, discarded appliances, furniture or vehicles and/or other litter and trash and showed evidence of fire damage.
The parcel assessments began in 2011 and continued every summer through 2016. The team assessed 6100 parcels in both 2011 and 2012, and 10,150 parcels in 2013-2015. This reflects the expansion of the intervention area in 2013.
These annual assessments allowed the evaluation researchers to assess any changes that were happening to the physical structure of the properties in both the intervention and comparison areas.
Violent Crime and Injury Data
In addition to the parcel assessments, we are looking at violent crime and injury data from various sources. Using police data and data from emergency department visits, we collected and analyzed the type, frequency and location of crimes and injuries, particularly those involving youth and young adults under 25 who lived in the intervention area.
Speak To Your Health! Community Survey
The final component of the MI-YVPC evaluation involved an abbreviated version of the PRC's Speak To Your Health! Community Survey. The survey captured resident' perceptions of safety, community involvement, fear of crime, and overall physical condition of their neighborhood. The survey has 61 questions and takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete. Every other summer, the surveyors administered the questionnaire to residents throughout the intervention and comparison areas.