Social Construction of Reform
Crime Prevention and Community Organizations
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It has become fashionable to assume that concerted action to bring about social reform is a waste of time. If we are to move beyond the current laments about how nothing works anymore, we must view the reform process from the perspective of the community groups involved-those who make it work or fail-and understand how and why they behave as they do.Social Construction of Reform is an analysis of the activities of community groups who used Ford Foundation funding to prevent crime. The authors ask: What are the goals of the community groups who are involved in the reform? What are they trying to accomplish with their participation in the program? Are their goals synonymous with those who fund and evaluate the activity?The authors begin by analyzing the implementation of the grant by the groups involved. They describe the origins of the group's planned intervention, the nature of what is called community crime prevention, and then they examine the impact of external funding on community organizations as a generic issue. They take a careful look at what the groups did with the Foundation's support, to understand how well the groups' crime prevention strategy they employed supported their ideology. The block watch is examined in detail as the tactic most often employed. The authors conclude with observations on what success and failure mean in the context of the findings reported, offering a better understanding of reforms and new criteria to assess their effectiveness.