Optimizing the Use of Video Technology to Improve Criminal Justice Outcomes

Ridesharing and Taxi Safety: Information on Assaults Against Drivers and Passengers

Recidivism in Alternatives to Incarceration Programs across Thirteen Federal Districts’


On the Spatial Determinants of Educational Access

How Should Colleges Collect Parenting Student Data? A Guide to Emerging Best Practices for Policymakers and Practitioners


Four of Nation’s Fastest-Growing Metro Areas Are in Florida

Port Infrastructure: United States Ports Have Adopted Some Automation Technologies and Report Varied Effects

Reforming the Inspections Process: A Necessary Step for a Stronger Housing Choice Voucher Program


Chronic School Absenteeism for Health-related Reasons Among Children Ages 5‒17 Years: United States, 2022

Lessons on 988 and 911 Interoperability: Case Studies on Implementation

Sober Curiosity and Participation in Temporary Alcohol Abstinence Challenges in a Cohort of U.S. Emerging Adults

March 22, 2024


This report describes an evaluation study of the Milwaukee Police Department’s (MPD) efforts to optimize its public surveillance network through two video analytic technologies: automatic license plate recognition cameras and high-definition cameras connected to gunshot detection technology. Using qualitative data on MPD’s camera operations and interviews with staff members who work directly with the camera program, the study found that the impact of the interventions was mixed. The study examined many crime outcomes including total violent crimes (homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, rape), total property crimes (burglary, larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft), simple assaults, minor offenses, offenses that involved a firearm, vandalism offenses, drug crimes, and weapon law violations. There were three noteworthy findings when examining the results as a whole. First, models covering large areas, such as the city and two focus areas, observed significant decreases in the outcomes after the interventions were installed, but few significant changes were noted when compared to match areas without the interventions. The more specific models that focused on intersections where the cameras where installed also found decreases in the outcomes after the interventions, but some models found increases in the amount of crime. These increases are most likely the result of the camera program observing crimes that may have been missed by the department before the cameras were installed. Finally, cameras connected to the video analytic technologies found decreases in crime after the interventions, but results were no different from matched comparison groups. The researchers noted that the same quarter the interventions were installed, a new police chief was sworn in, resulting in new policies, operations, and organizational staffing. Models covering large areas observed significant decreases in the outcomes after the interventions were installed, but few significant changes were noted when compared to match areas without the interventions. The report also provides recommendations for police departments for improving policies and practices related to video technology programs such as having a strong, collaborative relationship with the vendor they select to make upgrades to their surveillance systems and encouraging departments to continually reassess how the program is working.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs

Ridesourcing (also referred to as ridesharing) and taxi services help meet the transportation needs of many people in the U.S. There is growing concern about assaults against drivers and passengers. There are no federal requirements to collect data on assaults in rideshare and taxi vehicles; however, researchers found that six federal databases have some data on assaults on drivers, one of which reported 19 fatal assaults in 2019. Three ridesharing companies publicly report on fatal physical assaults and the most serious types of sexual assaults, reporting about 4,600 such sexual assaults in 2019. Five taxi companies interviewed collect but do not publicly share incident data, which can include assault data.

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office

This study evaluates the effectiveness of Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) programs in the federal criminal justice system across thirteen federal districts, particularly their impact on post-program recidivism. It explores the development and expansion of ATI programs, which offer defendants charged in federal court the opportunity to participate in a formal judge-led multi-disciplinary team program that emphasizes community-based rehabilitative approaches that target root causes of criminal behavior. These programs emphasize treatment over punishment while holding defendants accountable using proscribed protocols of sanctions and incentives. Depending on the rules of the individual program, defendants who successfully complete the program receive a reduced or non-incarcerate sentence, or have their charges dismissed. The study utilizes data from the participating districts to compare the outcomes of ATI participants with those of matched counterparts who did not participate in the programs. In addition to examining outcomes of defendants while on pretrial supervision, the study examines re-arrests for new criminal behavior one, two, and three years after defendants’ exit from the program. The authors found that for all 480 participants available for one-year follow-up (including both successful and unsuccessful participants), the ATI group exhibited statistically significant lower rearrest rates for major offenses than the comparison group. However the two-year and three-year recidivism follow ups showed no statistically significant differences in re-arrest rates for major offenses.

Source: Federal Sentencing Reporter


This paper studies the extent to which educational access is determined by sorting based on heterogeneous preferences over school attributes, or local institutions that constrain residential location and school choice, such as school catchment areas and housing regulation. The authors define educational access as the component of a neighborhood's value that is determined by the set of schools available to its residents. The authors develop a spatial equilibrium model of residential sorting and school choice, estimated using data from a large school district in the United States. The authors find that low-income families prioritize proximity to schools while high-income families and families with high-skilled children place more value on school peer composition. The authors use the model to evaluate how the geography of neighborhood sorting influences the aggregate and distributional outcomes of a school-choice expansion (place-based) and a housing voucher (people-based) policy. The authors find that both policies result in net welfare losses, with only marginal improvements in school peer composition for the average low-income family. Although eligible families benefit from these policies, the negative impact falls on families who currently invest in their children's education by residing in expensive neighborhoods. Under both policies, higher-income families are less exposed to the inflow of low-income children into their schools, either because of their longer distance from target neighborhoods or because of the cost imposed by residential zoning regulation on voucher recipients.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

Colleges, systems, and states have identified collecting data on parenting students as a necessary step to support educational opportunities for adults and families. In recent years, the states of California, Illinois, Oregon, and Texas have moved to routinely track college students’ parenting status, and the U.S. House of Representatives recently considered relevant legislation. The Data-to-Action (D2A) Campaign for Parenting Students seeks to help colleges in California, Illinois, and Oregon satisfy current legislative requirements by working with a set of grantee institutions and systems to efficiently collect parenting-status data. However, each state, college, and postsecondary institution has different considerations when it comes to collecting data on students’ parenting status. These considerations can affect priorities, methodology, question wording, data storage, and even the definition of parenting students. Based on D2A work and ongoing research, this brief informs practitioners, policymakers, and legislators about the technical considerations for parenting student data collection and offers recommendations. It also examines the importance of sharing power with students during the data-collection process and how to minimize data-collection-related threats to students. The authors anticipate updating this resource with future versions as the D2A Campaign progresses.

Source: Urban Institute


Florida was home to four of the nation’s top five fastest-growing metropolitan statistical areas and three of the top 10 that gained the largest number of people from 2022 to 2023, reflecting continued population growth across the South. The increases in Florida (the nation’s third most populous state) were fueled by rapid growth in select metro areas in the state during that period. These include the city of Wildwood — The Villages — known for its large retirement community – whose population rose nearly 5% to 151,565, making it the nation’s fastest-growing metro area. And Lakeland-Winter Haven, the second fastest-growing metro area, up nearly 4% to 818,330. And also Ocala and Port St. Lucie, the fourth and fifth fastest-growing metro areas, respectively. Their populations increased by more than 3% each to 409,959 and 536,901. Three other metro areas collectively added nearly 150,000 residents from 2022 to 2023: Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (54,916); Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (51,622); and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach (43,387) — the fourth, fifth, and 10th largest numeric gaining metro areas nationwide, respectively.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce

United States ports' ability to efficiently move containers into and out of terminals is crucial for the U.S. economy. In 2020, coastal ports handled cargo that accounted for nearly half of U.S. trade. Faced with increased container volumes and supply chain challenges, some ports in the U.S. and abroad have adopted automation technologies to improve performance and increase capacity. Automation technology at ports reduces human involvement in processing and handling cargo. All of the 10 largest U.S. container ports have adopted automation technology to varying degrees. At least one terminal at each of these ports uses process automation technology to optimize, track, or communicate container movements (e.g., automated gate systems). Four also use automated cargo handling equipment to load, unload, and move containers. Selected foreign ports generally adopted more automation technologies than U.S. ports due to factors such as larger container volumes and variations in labor availability. Port operators consider factors like costs, profitability, priorities, and labor agreements when deciding whether to automate. Some port stakeholders said automation can improve worker safety, simplify tasks, and increase efficiency. Others noted mixed effects on performance, such as one port's automated equipment working slower than conventional equipment. Other possible tradeoffs include, for example, reductions or changes in port jobs.

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program helps more than 2.3 million low-income families affordably rent homes in the private market. The program’s effectiveness and reach are constrained by several significant challenges, including falling landlord participation, extended housing search periods, and declining voucher holder success rates. These challenges have been slowly building. In 2023, a panel of senior U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officials attributed the low participation rate among landlords primarily to the perceived burdens of program requirements that HUD and the public housing agencies impose upon them. HUD’s multifaceted response to these HCV program challenges includes in-house program analyses and agency-sponsored third-party research. The response also involves discussions with sponsors and potential funders of guaranteed basic income pilots now under way across the country with the aim of expanding their portfolios to include demonstrations of direct rental assistance. HUD tacitly acknowledged there were long-standing problems with their national housing quality standards (HQS) when it replaced the HQS regime that was developed in 1995 with new housing quality requirements that took effect for the HCV program in 2023 and will go into effect for other HUD programs in 2024. However, HUD left the legacy HCV program inspection and enforcement regime associated with the obsolete HQS system largely intact. The authors conclude that the current inspection and enforcement regime is no longer necessary and offer several alternative approaches.

Source: Urban Institute


Chronic school absenteeism can lead to poorer academic performance and school engagement for students. It is also a risk factor for school dropout, which is associated with many long-term health impacts. This report uses data from the 2022 National Health Interview Survey to describe the percentage of children ages 5‒17 who experienced chronic school absenteeism due to illness, injury, or disability by sociodemographic and health factors. Key findings from the survey include that in 2022, 5.8% of children ages 5‒17 experienced chronic school absenteeism for health-related reasons in the past 12 months. The percentage of children who experienced chronic absenteeism varied by race and Hispanic origin. Children with family incomes of less than 200% of the federal poverty level were more likely to have experienced chronic school absenteeism than those with family incomes of 200% of the federal poverty level or more. Children with disabilities (14.8%) were about three times more likely to have experienced chronic school absenteeism than children without disabilities (4.4%).

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, launched in 2022, holds promise for significantly improving the mental health of Americans in distress. However, local policymakers planning how 988 should interface with the 911 emergency system face many challenges in ensuring that callers to both services get the appropriate responses. The process of assessing a caller's needs and deploying the right resource—be it phone counseling, emergency medical services, police, or fire response—requires procedures tailored to every jurisdiction's governmental, geographic, and population characteristics. Resources to support policymakers considering 988/911 interoperability are limited, and lessons learned are not widely shared, which can impede effective implementation. Researchers studied 988/911 interoperability in communities in South Dakota, New York, and Virginia. The authors found that planning and implementation for 988/911 interoperability should be collaborative, including representatives from 988 and 911 call centers, law enforcement, mobile crisis teams, peer support specialists, behavioral health specialists, and people who have lived experience with crisis services. Additionally, having a local champion participate on the teams that are executing 988/911 interoperability helps facilitate planning and implementation. Formalizing policies, procedures, and documents is essential. Developing agreement between stakeholders on formal policies, procedures, and documents can take time and can require involvement of agency legal departments.

Source: RAND Corporation

Thus far, behavioral health research in the United States has not explored the prevalence or correlates of sober curiosity (SC) - exploratory or experimental abstinence or moderation or temporary alcohol abstinence challenges (TAACs), such as “Dry January,”, despite significant attention in media and popular discourse. The current study explores these activities in a sample of U.S. emerging adults (e.g., ages 18–29), a population with higher-risk drinking behavior yet some of the lowest rates of treatment engagement for alcohol use problems. The authors collected survey data in 2021-2022 from just over 1,600 participants. The surveys assessed SC awareness/engagement and past-year TAAC participation. Overall, 9% of emerging adults were familiar with SC and 7% had participated in a TAAC in the past year. Half of TAAC participants reported drinking less after the TAAC, and 15% remained abstinent after the TAAC ended. SC familiarity and TAAC were both associated with past-month heavy drinking, cannabis use, higher Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) scores, more past-year alcohol and cannabis consequences, past-year substance use treatment, and greater readiness to quit alcohol. The authors concluded that both SC and TAACs may have potential to engage young people with a desire to moderate or eliminate their alcohol consumption. This may occur directly through use of these strategies or by helping them connect to additional services.

Source: RAND Corporation

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