Assessing the impact of the presence of substance abuse treatment centers on neighborhood crime

The Foundation's Substance Abuse Policy Research Program was designed to provide support for investigators to conduct policy research on a variety of subjects directed at helping the country reduce the harm caused by substance abuse.Access to substance abuse treatment is limited in U.S. communities, with opposition stemming largely from fear that treatment centers increase neighborhood crime, a phenomenon often called "Not in My Backyard" (NIMBY). This study will assess whether crime increases or decreases as one gets closer to a treatment center, as well as whether crimes occur when the center is open. In addition, crime rates around treatment centers will be compared with crime around control locations like hospitals and convenience stores. Lastly, analysis will be conducted to determine if the type of treatment center or community affects the results. Treatment centers will include methadone clinics, outpatient drug free programs, recovery/halfway houses, 12 step meetings, and (depending on data availability) physicians' offices prescribing buprenorphine in urban, suburban, and rural neighborhoods in Maryland. A "crime slope" will be created around treatment centers by geocoding (electronically mapping) three different crime databases and overlaying this information on a map of treatment center locations. Cutting edge techniques in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, such as site visits, computer mapping models, and statistical analyses will be used to identify specific characteristics of high or low crime centers. Results will be used to help policy makers develop guidelines for new treatment centers designed to decrease crime or perceived crime around centers.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $328,793.00

Awarded on: 6/14/2005

Time frame: 7/1/2005 - 6/30/2010

Grant Number: 53127


University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Medicine

655 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, 21201-1559


Susan J. Boyd
Project Director