Finding one´s bearings in relation to a constantly growing body of research and drawing one´s own conclusions is often difficult. This also applies to research on the effects produced by mea-sures intended to combat crime. Systematic reviews are one means of helping people to pick their way through the jungle of research findings. Systematic reviews combine a number of evaluations that are considered to satisfy a list of empirical criteria for measuring effects as reliably as possible. The results of these evaluations are then used to calculate and produce an overall picture of the effects that a given measure does and does not produce. Such studies are also valuable in relation to attempts to assess the circumstances in which a certain measure works. Systematic reviews aim to systematically combine the results from a number of studies in order to produce a more reliable overview of the possibilities and limitations associated with a given crime prevention strategy.
The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå) has therefore initiated the publication of a series of systematic reviews, in the context of which internationally renowned researchers are commissioned to perform the studies on our behalf. In this study, Trevor H. Bennett, Katy R. Holloway and David P. Farrington have carried out a systematic review of the effects of neighbourhood watch based on 36 evaluations.
Professor Trevor H. Bennett is Director of the Centre for Criminology at the University of Glamorgan, United Kingdom.
Dr. Katy R. Holloway is Reader of Criminology at the University of Glamorgan, United Kingdom.
David P. Farrington is Professor of Psychological Criminology in the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.