Evaluation of crime prevention interventions. How are the EU Member States doing?
Teresa Silva, Associate professor in criminology, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Mid Sweden University, (Teresa.silva[at]miun.se)
Abstract of paper presented at Eurocrim 2020:
Our study aimed at obtaining an overview of real evaluation practices of crime prevention activities that had been implemented in the EU. The ultimate goal was to identify possible shortcomings and gaps and make recommendations accordingly.
The study employed a mixed quantitative and qualitative methodology. A questionnaire was answered by 182 respondents, and 19 participants were interviewed. A scoping review of the literature on best practices supported the final recommendations. In general, many aspects of the implementation process were not monitored.
Regarding the outcomes, the results show that only 44% of the interventions were formally evaluated, while 36% were informally evaluated, and 10% not evaluated at all. This information was unknown for 10% of the cases. A small percentage of the formally evaluated interventions produced evaluations close to the best practices, but the majority showed multiple shortcomings. The evaluability of the projects was compromised in many cases since needs assessment was not performed, and program theory was not developed.
The lack of knowledge in evaluation methodology, the lack of human and financial resources, and the difficulties in having access to necessary data were some of the obstacles to doing proper evaluation pointed out by the participants. The EU Member States should address these obstacles and promote the culture of evaluation in their countries in order to get close to a crime prevention practice based on evidence.