Research-Driven Evaluation of the Impact of the Drug Market Intervention Project in Charleston, West Virginia
The West Virginia SAC has been providing research and data analysis to the Charleston, WV, Police Department on a Drug Market Intervention (DMI) project (funded through the Bureau of Justice Assistance's Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation grant program). The DMI project is a community and problem-oriented policing strategy that aims to transform a targeted area into a drug-free, safe community. The WV SAC recently designed and distributed a community survey aimed at the West Side community of Charleston and analyzed the responses, with a particular focus on responses from the identified target area. The survey was designed to assess neighborhood needs and measure neighborhood conditions, community cohesion, and residents' perception of crime, safety, and police activity to assist with DMI revitalization plans.
Responses from residents in and out of the target area were compared and suggested a difference in the perception of safety. Similar themes appeared in responses from residents in and outside the target area, including their perceptions of top crime issues, biggest nuisance problems, sense of community cohesion, police activity, accessibility of neighborhood amenities, and past community involvement, and their willingness to donate time to improve their neighborhood. Overall, the results validate safety concerns within the target area and top crime issues related to drugs. The responses will also be used to guide and inform strategies for the implementation phase of the DMI project and revitalization efforts.