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Evaluating the impact of a street barrier on urban crime
  1. Robert W Zavoski1,
  2. Garry D Lapidus1,
  3. Trudy J Lerer2,
  4. Georgine Burke1,
  5. Leonard I Banco1
  1. 1Connecticut Childhood Injury Prevention Center and the Department of Pediatrics, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, and the University of Connecticut School of Medicine
  2. 2Connecticut Childhood Injury Prevention Center and the Department of Pediatrics, Connecticut Children's Medical Center
  1. Correspondence and reprint requests to:
 r Robert W Zavoski, Primary Care Center, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, 282 Washington Street, Hartford, CT 06106, USA.


Objectives—Violence is a major urban public health problem in the United States. The impact of a physical barrier placed across a street in a public housing project to prevent street violence and drug activity was evaluated.

Methods—Hartford Police Department data on violent and drug related crime incidence within the housing project containing the barrier were analyzed by use of a computerized geographic information system.

Results—Violent crime decreased 33% on the intervention street during the 15 month period after erection of the barrier, compared with the 15 month period before erection of the barrier, but there was no change in drug related crime. On adjoining streets and surrounding blocks, violent crime decreased 30%–50% but drug related crimes roughly doubled. A non-adjacent area of the housing project and the entire city experienced 26% and 15% decreases in violent crimes, and 414% and 25% increases in drug crimes, respectively.

Conclusions—The barrier decreased violent crime but displaced drug crimes to surrounding areas of the housing project. These results have important implications for other cities that have erected or are considering erecting similar barriers.

  • violence
  • urban population
  • wounds and injuries
  • crime

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