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The Newark Foot Patrol Experiment

Publication Date

January 1981


Antony Pate


This experiment in foot patrol in Newark, New Jersey, came about as a result of an invitation to observe a unique program: the Safe and Clean Neighborhoods Program, which provides funds for foot patrol officers and for upgrading and stabilizing neighborhoods in 28 cities in New Jersey. This evaluation concerns only the foot patrol aspect of the program. The major portion of the evaluation was an experiment conducted in Newark. Three designs were used to evaluate the effects of foot patrol. Design I compared the attitudes of officers assigned to foot patrol with those of officers assigned to motor patrol in all 28 cities. For Design II, it was found that two basic patterns of foot patrol existed in Elizabeth, NJ. Some areas had steady foot patrol coverage both before and after the program was implemented, while other areas had no foot patrol before the program. Therefore, Design II compared the levels of reported crime in these areas from before and after the program was implemented. Design III in Newark, NJ, used 8 foot patrol beats split into 4 pairs, and randomly assigned one beat per pair to continue foot patrol and discontinued the other. Overall findings gave the general impression that, while foot patrol may not have a significant effect on crime, it does affect citizens’ fear of crime, the protective measures they take to avoid crime, and the perceived safety of their neighborhoods in consistent and systematic ways. In general, when foot patrol is added, citizens’ fear of typical street crime seems to go down and generalized feelings of personal safety go up.

Research Design

Randomized controlled trial (RCT)

Research Methods

Field-based experiment

Recommended Citation

Pate, A. (1981). The Newark foot patrol experiment. Washington, DC: National Policing Institute. https://www.policinginstitute.org/publication/the-newark-foot-patrol-experiment/