Remember: all assignments are to be submitted online via Blackboard. Please go to the Assignments menu tab for the submission link.



The purpose of this project is to weave together the different perspectives and themes discussed in this class into a coherent narrative. I want you to demonstrate to me that you understood the major themes in the course, and the way you do that is by incorporating your analysis, discussion, and/or arguments in your written assignments. This project will be fulfilled by several assignments, with the final assignment in the form of an academic essay, due at the end of the semester – all assignments leading up to this final paper are meant to prepare you for the academic essay.

The primary questions you are going to address in your entire project are: (a) how has crime changed in my neighborhood over the years? and (b) What is the perception of justice in my neighborhood? To answer these questions for your paper, you will have to conduct research. Involved in this research includes, but is not limited to: 1) collect background data about the neighborhood you choose to canvas; 2) analyze existing data (“secondary data”) about your neighborhood; and 3) collect original data about your neighborhood in the form of systematic observations and conducting interviews. (More information on how to conduct research is described below and will be reviewed over the course of the semester)


This 2-3-page essay will be based on your thoughts regarding the neighborhood you live in. This is a free-thinking exercise. You are to express your thoughts about your community. Who lives there? What is around you? Are there parks? Are there community centers, churches, schools, gardens, etc? Information on what a reflection essay is can be found under the “Course Materials” tab in OpenLab.


For this first formal assignment, you will write a 3-4-page paper where you describe your neighborhood history: is your neighborhood known by a particular name? If so, what is it? Where did that name come from? What are the neighborhood’s demographic makeup over time? What makes your neighborhood unique? Are there any cultural events or activities in your neighborhood? Pretend you belong to the Chamber of Commerce and you want to attract people to your neighborhood – what would you highlight so that people would want to come visit? For this paper, you will use the research you conducted where you analyzed secondary data.


For this second formal assignment, you will write a 3-4 paper where you use the interview data you collected (remember, you will not be able to interview anyone until you have completed your CITI certification). For this paper I want you to interview 2-3 people and ask them about their perception of crime and disorder in your neighborhood. You will use quotations from those interviews in your article. So think about a newspaper article, maybe look a few up so you can see how they are written and formatted – this assignment is your newspaper article.  You will discuss public policy and its relationship to Criminal Justice and the Urban Environment where you live.  This is where you will also use the secondary data you looked up for the first assignment, to give some context on what the folks are telling you. So, for example, if a person tells you “crime is at an all time high!” Then you will be able to say something about that comment, based on the data you collected on crime rates in your community.


For this final paper, you will weave together the information from the first three assignments and discuss your understanding of how public policy, crime, and justice interplay in your community. This final paper should be about 6-8 pages. You will take the information that you collected during your research for the previous assignments to inform your final paper. You will not cut and paste the previous 3 essays and form this paper! Rather, you will write this essay based on the information gathered previously. More information will be discussed during the semester.


  1. The reflection paper is meant to make you think about your neighborhood.
  2. The “history of my neighborhood” paper is meant to make you write the part of your paper where you discuss the background of your neighborhood, including crime data.
  3. Your “newspaper article” is where you were to discuss the current situation of your neighborhood – and this is where you conduct your interviews (the reason you had to take your CITI certifications).

So, if you complete the above assignments (as they are meant to be completed), you will have basically written about 75% of your final paper – because most of the components of your final research has been completed: 1) the introduction – with the reflection paper; 2) the literature view – 3/5 sources were used for the annotated bibliography; 3) the “body” – the information you collected for the historical essay and newspaper story.

This does not mean, however, that for the final paper you cut and paste the previous assignments into your paper! However, in terms of the content for your final paper, much of it has been already conceived and laid out, with your previous assignments.



Collecting data about your neighborhood: You will begin by collecting background data about your neighborhood that will consist of information you find by searching online, at a library and/or elsewhere. It will include statistics and/or reports published by government agencies such as the police, health department, or the housing department (“secondary data”). The background data may also include reports and statistics generated by non-governmental agencies (like the ACLU, for example) and any articles that you can find about your neighborhood, including academic papers, magazine articles, newspaper stories and so on, that provide insight into it. You will use secondary source information and your own personal observations to write a description of your neighborhood.

Conducting Systematic Observations and interviews in your neighborhood: This project employs a relatively short window of time to conduct a very simple set of systematic observations in neighborhoods. You will conduct observations and interviews in your neighborhood. To conduct observations, students are asked to adhere to their normal daily routines – pay attention to whether any evidence of crime in their neighborhoods is observed. If yes, students will record where and how often they see it and, if possible, report which crimes are involved – do not seek criminal activity out! Pictures are a good idea, but do not take pictures of anyone unless you have their permission. You will also conduct interviews – you must interview at least 3 ppl. They can be neighbors, family, business owners, police officer, postal workers, anyone who is in your neighborhood on a consistent basis. You will ask them about their connection in the neighborhood (how long have they lived there?) and of their perceptions of crime in the neighborhood: has neighborhood crime gone up or down? Why do they think? Has the neighborhood changed in any other way since they have lived there? These interviews must be anonymous and confidential! You may not use people’s real names or describe them in such a way that anyone who reads your paper will be able to identify them. As you write your paper keep in mind that, the reporting of the data you collect should be with the focus of answering the primary questions of the assignment (first paragraph). And as you answer these questions using the data you collected, you are also incorporating the different 2 perspectives discussed in class (the sociological imagination, navigating space, being present in the space that you’re in, who does the city belong to?, interrogating concepts of disorder, crime, “good neighborhoods” v. “bad neighborhoods”).

Final paper is due via Blackboard. Consult the syllabus for the date.



Please refer to the guidelines below on what is expected in a college-level essay:


  • All work is typed
  • Font is standard (12 pt.)
  • 1” margins on all sides
  • Double-spaced
  • APA citation (please consult with the LIBRARY or WRITING CENTER for help on how to cite using APA format (the Purdue OWL website is also a great resource)
  • The introductory paragraph is at least SIX sentences long
  • Spellcheck applied to FINAL draft
  • The paper does not contain contractions (no “don’t,” “can’t,” “couldn’t”)
  • Do not use first person pronouns (we, I, you, us, our, my, mine, me) PAPER
  • Focused, clear, uses a point effectively, and supports the thesis you are making; meaning: Does the essay answer the question that is asked? Does the essay critically analyze the subject matter? Is the information clearly, coherently and concisely synthesized and presented?
  • Uses appropriate sources to make a sensible argument
  • Integrates quoted material effectively
  • Does not come entirely from just one source nor does it rely heavily on only one or two sources?

At least 5 sources (NO WIKIPEDIA, NO BLOGS!)


  • A student generated visual aid o Chart, graphic (not a picture you stole from the internet)