HUD Strategies to Reduce Drugs and Crime in Public Housing


Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Title: Strategies to Reduce Drugs and Crime in Public Housing

Background Information

"Strategies Against Violence: Drugs and Crime in Public Housing," a February 9, 1994, video conference tracked the ambitious violence-reduction programs in New York City, Memphis, TN, and Richmond, VA. The crime abatement initiatives in these cities were part of the Clinton Administration's efforts to reinvent and streamline government.

Progress to date in the three model cities:

New York City Housing Authority

Tenant patrols featured in the February 9, 1994, video conference continue to flourish in New York City's Johnson and Patterson developments. The youth entrepreneurial program "Ghetto Gear" coordinated by the Johnson Houses Resident Council is growing as is the Bronx River "Project Strive" program. This employment initiative retrains public housing youth for careers in the private sector.

On the enforcement side, the Bicycle Patrol Unit showcased at public housing developments in State Island has expanded to almost 100 officers. The Bicycle Patrol Unit continues to be a model for police departments nationwide--a fact which the New York City Housing Authority attributes to the exposure the unit received in the February broadcast. The police cadet program, part of the New York City Housing Authority Police Department, continues community outreach and is currently enlisting new recruits.

Memphis, TN Housing Authority

The Memphis Housing Authority was spotlighted as one of three public housing authorities that has designed innovative programs to reduce drugs and drug-related crime.

As a result, Memphis public housing residents and the Memphis community as a whole have become more aware of drug elimination programs that have been implemented by the housing authority. The broadcast gave residents incentives to participate in and develop new drug elimination initiatives.

The event motivated residents to initiate their own community mobilization processes in efforts to eradicate drugs and drug-related crime. Community mobilization has come in the form of anti-drug marches and vigils. Other efforts such as educational programs in self-sufficiency have also been implemented.

Richmond, VA Housing Authority

The Whitcomb Safe Neighborhood Program has been a collaborative effort between RRHA, the police, residents and community organizations. Programs and activities which were identified as part of the Whitcomb initiative and which are either ongoing or completed include:

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