A first glance can be deceiving:
Policing, mass transit & the homeless

Preventing Mass Transit Crime.
Crime Prevention Studies, Vol. 6.
Ronald V. Clarke, editor.
Monsey, N.Y.: Criminal Justice Press, 1996.
257 pp. $47.50 (hb)

The Police and The Homeless:
Creating a Partnership Between Law Enforcement and Social Service Agencies in the Development of Effective Policies and Programs.
Martin L. Forst, editor.
Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas, 1997.
233 pp. $57.95, (hb); $42.95, (pb)

By Dorothy M. Schulz
At first glance these two collections appear to target similar audiences, namely police or security managers of public and quasi-public spaces where issues of crime prevention through environmental design or through patrol tactics often seem to brush against the twin concerns about the homeless as individuals and, more specifically, about their use of public space in ways that others often find threatening or offensive. 

Yet here the comparisons end. Clarke’s “Preventing Mass Transit Crime” has value well beyond the implication of its title. Although tightly focused on mass transit, each of the articles has value outside that venue.

On the other hand, Forst’s “The Police and The Homeless” lacks focus. Too many of the articles describing individual homeless outreach programs are written by someone involved with that program. This results in too little information about the mechanics of designing, setting up, funding, administering and objectively measuring the impact of different approaches to getting homeless people off the streets and into permanent living arrangements.

(Dorothy M. Schulz, Ph.D., is an associate professor of police science and criminal justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). A former captain with the Metro North Railroad Police Department, she served as principal investigator of “Guidelines for the Effective Use of Uniformed Transit Police and Security Personnel,” a two-year study supported by the United States Transit Cooperative Research Program.)

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Excerpted from Law Enforcement News
Oct 10, 1997. 
© 1997, LEN Inc.  [ Subscribe.]