Systematic review

Journal of Experimental Criminology

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 437-458

First online:

Does neighborhood watch reduce crime? A systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Trevor BennettAffiliated withCentre for Criminology, University of Glamorgan Email author 
  • , Katy HollowayAffiliated withCentre for Criminology, University of Glamorgan
  • , David P. FarringtonAffiliated withInstitute of Criminology, University of Cambridge

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Neighborhood watch grew out of a movement in the USA during the late 1960s that promoted greater involvement of citizens in the prevention of crime. Recent estimates suggest that over a quarter of the UK population and over 40% of the US population live in areas covered by neighborhood watch schemes. The current paper presents the results of a recent systematic review of evaluations of neighborhood watch. The main findings of the narrative review were that about half of the schemes evaluated showed that neighborhood watch was effective in reducing crime, with most of the other evaluations having uncertain effects. The main findings of the meta-analysis were that 15 of the 18 studies provided evidence that neighborhood watch reduced crime. While the results of the review are encouraging, it was concluded that more high-quality research needs to be done to help explain why study variations exist.

Key words

crime reduction effectiveness meta-analysis neighborhood watch systematic review