An Impact Evaluation of a Neighbourhood Crime Prevention Program: Does Safer Commune Make Chileans Safer?

Nov 2008
This working paper discusses "Safer Commune" - a neighbourhood crime prevention program in Chile that has come under criticism via evidence of rising crime rates and fear of crime in municipalities with the program. The author argues that this criticism is incorrect and shows empirical evidence that the crime rates that would have been observed without the program. This impact evaluation -using the double difference propensity score method- reveals that the program has reduced high crimes particularly of two types of crimes namely battery and theft. The author shows that active participation in the program by local residents has reduced insecurity and increased security; but with very low active participation in the program the scale of the effect is low. Positive evaluative findings suggest that an expansion of the program and simultaneously enhancing co-production of order through mechanisms to encourage local resident participation would have high returns.