How to Use
the Information You Find on CrimeSolutions.gov
CrimeSolutions.gov to help criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim
service professionals better understand crime and identify program and practice
solutions that address the unique needs of their communities. Here you will
find tips for practitioners, policy makers, and researchers to use this
information to advance justice. The tips are organized under five headings:
Do you run your own site or blog? You can provide your visitors with access to the program profiles and ratings most recently posted to CrimeSolutions.gov, add one of the available CrimeSolutions.gov program widgets to your site. Learn how.
We also have 1-page CrimeSolutions.gov flier that you can print and share with your colleagues.
helps justice professionals who are not social scientists improve their
effectiveness. The systematic, independent review process and evidence ratings
are intended to give practitioners access to social science evidence that is
otherwise difficult to obtain, and serve as a basis for gauging the quality of
evidence. In short, CrimeSolutions.gov strives to help practitioners answer the
question: Does it work?
Tip 1: Familiarize yourself with evidence-based programs and practices in your
practitioners at all levels may benefit from reviewing the CrimeSolutions.gov
program and practice profiles related to their work, even if they are not in a
position to make decisions about replicating programs. Our profiles show which
programs have produced results and which have not. This information can be
shared within agencies and organizations and facilitate conversations with
colleagues and superiors to explore ways to modify existing practices to better
align them with evidence-based programs and practices.
Tip 2: Replicate an evidence-based program or practice.
- Programs and
practices rated as "Effective" and "Promising" on
CrimeSolutions.gov have produced positive results in the past. Replicating
programs and practices that have been shown to work, and that fit a community's
needs, can save valuable time and resources compared to implementing untested
programs or practices that may not address the same problems as effectively.
The best way to get similar positive results from evidence-based programs and
practices is to replicate them with fidelity to the original design.
and practice profile on CrimeSolutions.gov includes summary information and
additional resources to help you replicate the program. You should view
CrimeSolutions.gov as a starting point where you may be able to find resources
such as dedicated websites, publications, implementation manuals, training
materials, live training, and certifications.
Tip 3: Adapt an evidence-based program or practice.
replication of evidence-based programs is ideal, but may not always be possible
because well-tested programs and practices simply do not exist for all
circumstances and populations. Even some identified as "Promising" or
"Effective" do not have detailed training materials that specify all
the ways to implement them.
build a new program from scratch, practitioners may choose to use these tested
programs as a foundation and make as few adjustments as possible to increase
the chances that the modified program will succeed. Such modifications can be
very helpful to others in the field when they are carefully documented and
paired with rigorous evaluation. In these cases, adaptation and innovation help
generate new evidence about programs' and practices' effectiveness.
If you are in
a position to influence funding, CrimeSolutions.gov can help you make informed
- Policy Maker
Tip 1: Create incentives to use evidence-based programs and practices.
- Investing in
programs and practices with demonstrated track records makes sense regardless
of whether funding comes from public or private sources. Similarly, it makes
sense to carefully review and possibly discontinue programs and practices when
evidence shows they have failed to produce their intended results. "Effective"
programs and practices are particularly suitable for replication, especially
when they come with strong training materials. However, policy makers with
funding responsibilities should take care not to oversimplify their task:
CrimeSolutions.gov may be used as one factor in determining worthy and unworthy
investments, but only as one factor among many.
- Policy Maker
Tip 2: Create incentives for ongoing innovation and the generation of
evidence-based programs and practices.
- We encourage
policy makers who find resources like CrimeSolutions.gov useful to recognize
the innovative practitioners who are striving to solve problems every day and
the social scientists who help produce the evidence. These innovators require
ongoing support so they can develop new evidence-based programs and practices.
Funders can contribute to the growing body of evidence-based programs by
pairing funding for innovative and untested approaches with rigorous
aims to create demand for programs and practices with proven results. The
profiles on this site provide basic information and resources, but these may
not be enough for practitioners to fully learn and replicate.
- Trainer Tip
1: Develop training materials for evidence-based programs and practices that
have been rated as "Effective."
- Training and
technical assistance providers can provide benefits to the field by developing
materials such as logic models, implementation guides, and manuals for
evidence-based programs. Online, open-access materials, and training are
particularly beneficial to practitioners in public agencies and organizations
who often work in tight budget environments.
scientists play an essential role in identifying evidence to inform
practitioners and policy makers about what is, and is not, effective.
Tip 1: Consult CrimeSolutions.gov evidence standards to strengthen program
evidence standards are described in the Program Scoring Instrument, and may be
useful points of reference during the program evaluation design phase. We
developed the evidence standards for CrimeSolutions.gov in consultation with a
wide range of social scientists in the justice field. We encourage program
evaluators to implement the strongest designs possible for producing causal
Tip 2: Focus on evaluating "Promising" programs using rigorous
evaluation designs to build the body of evidence and increase confidence in
- Many programs
we have deemed "Promising" are widely used in the field, and
improving the body of evidence on these programs is particularly helpful.
Social scientists highly committed to helping practitioners identify and use
evidence-based programs can make a valuable scientific contribution by
replicating a prior evaluation using stronger methods.
Tip 3: Review this list of program evaluations that did not meet our criteria
for being rated on CrimeSolutions.gov to see gaps in the body of evaluation
research and potentially determine areas of future research.
General Tips for Users
- General Tip
1: Understand that the body of evidence provided varies across topics.
- The extent
and quality of effective evidence varies considerably across topic areas within
criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services. The availability
of evidence in a topic area is not based on the importance or the extent of
activity in that area, but is more likely to be based on factors related to the
capacity to conduct social science evaluation in that area. The presence or
absence of evidence in a particular topic area does not indicate whether
activities in that topic area are more or less effective than those in another.
- General Tip
2: CrimeSolutions.gov is not yet comprehensive.
CrimeSolutiongs.gov continues to review evidence and add profiles for programs
and practices, there remains social science evidence within criminal justice,
juvenile justice, and crime victim services that CrimeSolutions.gov has not yet
reviewed. Users of this resource should not view CrimeSolutions.gov as a
complete body of social science evidence within justice systems. A list of
programs that have been reviewed, but not rated can be found here. We also
allow repeals of a given rating.
- General Tip
3: Understand and share what the term "evidence-based" means.
- A program or
practice is considered "evidence-based" if it has been found to produce its intended
results based on rigorous social science evaluation. Many other notable lines
of activity associated with terms like "data-driven" or
"research-based" may sound the same, but programs and practices that
have not been subjected to rigorous evaluation cannot be called evidence-based.
Become an educated consumer and user of these terms to help advance the cause
of truly evidence-based programs and practices.