Attention Felons: Evaluating Project Safe Neighborhoods in Chicago

75 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2005

See all articles by Andrew V. Papachristos

Andrew V. Papachristos

Sociology; Northwestern University - Institute for Policy Research

Tracey L. Meares

Yale University - Law School

Jeffrey Fagan

Columbia Law School

Date Written: 2007


This research uses a quasi-experimental design to evaluate the impact of Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN) initiatives on neighborhood level crime rates in Chicago. Four interventions are analyzed: (1) increased federal prosecutions for convicted felons carrying or using guns, (2) the length of sentences associated with federal prosecutions, (3) supply-side firearm policing activities, and (4) social marketing of deterrence and social norms messages through justice-style offender notification meetings. Using an individual growth curve models and propensity scores to adjust for non-random group assignment, our findings suggest that several PSN interventions are associated with greater declines of homicide in the treatment neighborhoods as compared to the control neighborhoods. The largest effect is associated with the offender notification meetings that stress individual deterrence, normative change in offender behavior, and increasing views on legitimacy and procedural justice. Possible competing hypotheses and directions for individual-level analysis are also discussed.

Keywords: guns, crime, deterrence, compliance, legitimacy

Suggested Citation

Papachristos, Andrew V. and Meares, Tracey Louise and Fagan, Jeffrey, Attention Felons: Evaluating Project Safe Neighborhoods in Chicago (2007). U Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 269, Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 05-97, Available at SSRN: or

Andrew V. Papachristos

Sociology ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States


Northwestern University - Institute for Policy Research ( email )

2003 Sheridan Rd
Evanston, IL 60208-2600
United States

Tracey Louise Meares (Contact Author)

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States
203-432-4074 (Phone)
203-432-4876 (Fax)

Jeffrey Fagan

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-2624 (Phone)
212-854-7946 (Fax)


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