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12 J. Experimental Criminology 1 (2016)

handle is hein.journals/jexpcrm12 and id is 1 raw text is: J Exp Criminol (2016) 12:1-20                                             CrossMark
DOI 10.1007/s11292-016-9252-4
The continued importance of measuring potentially
harmful impacts of crime prevention programs:
the academy of experimental criminology 2014
Joan McCord lecture
Anthony A. Braga2
Published online: 17 February 2016
© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016
Objective Joan McCord was a very influential criminologist and strong advocate for
measuring potentially harmful effects in well-meaning crime prevention programs. This
paper demonstrates the continued importance of measuring adverse program effects by
reviewing the available research evidence on classic and contemporary gang
streetworker programs.
Methods This paper draws upon the evaluation findings of existing gang streetworker
evaluations and presents the unpublished results of a rigorous quasi-experimental
evaluation of a contemporary gang streetworker program that directly measured wheth-
er the intervention impacted the violent gun behaviors of treated gangs relative to
untreated gangs.
Results Evaluations of classic pre-1970s gang streetworker programs generally found
that these interventions increased gang delinquency by reinforcing group identity and
enhancing gang cohesion. Evaluations of contemporary gang streetworker programs
are mixed, with several studies documenting concerning increases in gang violence. An
unpublished evaluation found that the streetworker program was well-implemented and
executed. However, the intervention was associated with increased shootings by and
against treatment gangs relative to control gangs.
Conclusion These findings suggest that contemporary gang streetworker programs are at
high risk of generating unintended adverse outcomes for treated gang members relative
to their untreated counterparts. Existing and planned programs should be monitored with
a high degree of vigilance and evaluated with controlled evaluation designs.
W Anthony A. Braga
Anthony Braga@harvard.edu
School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, USA
2  Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard
University, 79 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

4_ Springer

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