Charles E. Shannon, Jr. Community Safety Initiative
Meeting Summary - Action Research Tools and Strategies
Thursday, January 25th at Northeastern University
9:45-10:45 - Utilizing Crime Mapping in an Action Research Model:
(Also see attached PowerPoint presentation)
During the presentation, Jennifer Robinson and Sean Varano discussed the use of
Graphic Information Systems (GIS) analysis and its application to the Shannon
The presentation addressed the following topics:
The necessity for leadership to validate the system.
The use of spatial analysis to identify hot spots.
The spatial analysis model employed in New Bedford.
How to law enforcement organizations can overcome the difficulty of
collecting the data necessary for this type of analysis.
Questions following the presentation included:
How can this tool be effectively applied to action research?
What are other agencies doing to address the possibility false positives?
Are youth being identified as “gang involved” because they are simply
youth fighting in areas associated with gangs? What criteria are other
agencies using to identify youth as gang involved?
11:00- 12:00 - Peer to Peer Session:
This session provided time for project partners to pair up with research partners and
discuss issues pertaining to their application of the Shannon Grant and next steps.
Topics of discussion included:
The importance of law enforcement within Shannon communities to
maintain an open dialogue with their community when responding to
Many targeted youth are not able to test into GED programs offered by
various communities. What can be done to address this issue?
Law enforcement and community groups stressed the need to demonstrate
the importance of relationships developed as a result of this grant.
What else can be done to address the issues of poverty and race in the
application of the Shannon grant?
12:45-1:45 - Discussion of Qualitative Research Methods and Strategies
During this session, Tim Bynum and Scott Decker facilitated discussion that focused
on qualitative research methods to help evaluate Shannon Community Safety
Initiatives, specifically examining interview and field work techniques being used in
the Shannon communities.
Agencies and organizations discussed some of the qualitative evaluation methods
they were currently employing which included interviews of youth program
participants, interviews of outreach workers, online youth surveys, and police ride-
In addition, project partners also raised a number of issues that communities should
consider in their application of the Shannon grant:
Supervision of youth:
Organizations need to begin tracking what happens to kids after they are
arrested (bail, court, jail time).
Lack of parental supervision is a serious issue. What can be done to help
target this problem?
The need for communities to develop punishment alternatives for youth.
For example, many youth do not view commitment to DYS as an
unfavorable outcome of their actions since their friends and peers may
already be involved
The impact of the media:
The media drives the public perception. What can be done to ensure that
the media portrays crime in an unbiased manner?
How can communities work with the media to provide a better
representation of crime?
How can schools be utilized as a partner in developing and applying
What needs to be done to prevent students from dropping out?
Law enforcement should communicate and work regularly with teachers
to promote gang awareness.