IG report on ATFE violent crime initiative
A few years ago, BATFE got $20 million for a violent crime initiative, and thereafter announced its success. Justice Dept's Inspector General thinks otherwise. (pdf file).
A quick read suggests (1) it was a pretty good plan -- zero in on small violent crime hotspots, and focus on the worst perps in them; (2) headquarters, however, designated the targets with little input from the field agents, who might actually know the local conditions; (3) followthru on the plan details was lacking (sounds as if focusing on the worst of the worst wasn't yielding many arrests, so the offices gradually expanded it to include bad guys in general, not a bad thing but not in accord with the plan) and (3) the success consisted of showing declines in gun homicides city-wide, not just in the targetted areas, and in cases where it was limited to the targetted areas, the number was so small that large percentage variations could be expected (one target area had a 50% drop -- but we're talking about going from four homicides to two, which could be sheer chance).
I suspect it'd be impossible to show success or failure by the test being used (six months before and after, in a small area). If you did put the ten worst perps in jail for ten years, the benefits will be spread over ten years -- and only begin with their arrest, which won't happen the day the program starts.