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Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy

Ages 5-35

Rating: Level 2


The Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) is a community-based policing strategy. It was field-tested in five experimental districts in Chicago, Ill. In each of the districts, patrol officers were divided on a rotating basis into beat teams and rapid response teams. Beat teams were able to spend most of their time working their beats and with community organizations, while rapid response teams concentrated their efforts on excess 911 calls. Beat meetings were held on a monthly basis, and each district formed a civilian advisory committee to advise commanders and help mobilize problem-solving resources. Districts were responsible for identifying local priorities, planning strategies to address them and then executing their plans.


The evaluation used a quasi-experimental design based on the differential changes in views and experience of two groups over time. Data was gathered from survey interviews with a random sample of residents in the five experimental areas and five matched nonexperimental areas (n=1,506). The first survey took place during April and May 1993. The respondents were interviewed again 18 months later, to measure changes in their perceptions of crime.


The evaluation revealed evidence of improvement in every program area, compared with the nonexperimental group. The victimization component revealed a decrease in auto thefts in one district and street crime in another. Reports of drug and gang problems declined in two of the worst areas, as did perceptions of physical decay. Reports of graffiti decreased significantly in the area where it was found to be the biggest problem.

Risk Factors


  • Community crime/High crime neighborhood
  • Community instability
  • Low community attachment
  • Social and physical disorder/Disorganized neighborhood


  • Gang involvement/Gang membership

Protective Factors


  • Prosocial opportunities for participation / Availability of neighborhood resources
  • Safe environment / Low neighborhood crime


Skogan, Wesley G. 1996. Evaluating Problem Solving Policing: The Chicago Experience. Evanston, Ill..: Institute for Policy Research.

Skogan, Wesley G., and L. Steiner. 2004. CAPS at Ten. Community Policing in Chicago: An Evaluation of Chicago’s Alternative Policing Strategy. Chicago, Ill..: Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.


Sgt. Brian Daly
Chicago Police Department
3510 South Michigan
Chicago, IL 60653
Phone: (312) 745-5820

Technical Assistance Provider

Scott Oberg
Chicago Police
3510 South Michigan
Chicago, IL 60653
Phone: (312) 745-5812
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