Changes Coming to CrimeSolutions

I am reaching out to share NIJ’s plans for some major changes to the CrimeSolutions review process and website in the coming months. I write this letter in the spirit of transparency and with hope for your continued engagement and feedback.

The Office of Justice Programs launched CrimeSolutions in the summer of 2011 with 150 rated programs. It was the brainchild of former Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson, who envisioned CrimeSolutions as a central, credible resource to inform practitioners and policymakers about what works in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services.

In late 2012, NIJ took over administration of the program. Since then, CrimeSolutions has grown to include 713 rated programs and 130 rated practices. It has more than 50,000 subscribers who receive an email when each new program or practice rating is released. The mission of CrimeSolutions has remained the same throughout: to provide practitioners and policymakers with evidence-based information to make effective safety and justice decisions and increase the odds that those decisions will yield the desired results.

After more than a decade of rating programs and practices, it is imperative that we take stock of what is working and opportunities for improvement. To do so, we have been engaged in a multi-pronged effort to assess CrimeSolutions for its content, face validity, usability, and utility to the field. We have:

  • Held, in collaboration with the National Academies’ Committee on Law and Justice, a hybrid public seminar event to solicit input from researchers on CrimeSolutions’ review and communications processes.
  • Held a roundtable at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology to discuss preliminary findings of an internal review of CrimeSolutions, including its strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Analyzed the website’s customer satisfaction input and user analytics and contracted a heuristic review of the site based on the findings.
  • Conducted a usability test on new ideas for presenting program outcome data — with a focus on programs with mixed outcomes.
  • Fielded a survey to discern how well visitors understand select terms used on the site and gauge the level of information they require to understand the ratings and judge the likelihood of a program’s success in their jurisdiction.

To address the most significant issue raised throughout this process – ratings for programs with mixed outcomes – NIJ has begun the most significant revision of the program scoring instrument since CrimeSolutions’ inception. When complete, the revised instrument will allow us to rate programs by outcome, bringing them in line with how we rate practices. With this change we hope to reduce the subjectivity of the rating process and create a more transparent system whereby positive significant effects are not obscured by nonsignificant effects. By fall 2024, we plan to roll out the first new program profiles under the revised rating instrument and begin a re-review of existing programs.  

To facilitate this change, and other modifications under consideration, we will continue to engage our stakeholders in both the research and practice communities.

Recognizing that transparency is an essential component of CrimeSolutions, I will provide periodic updates on our progress. I also welcome any thoughts or suggestions you may have. They can be submitted to [email protected].

We rely on you for both content and feedback and recognize that our best path forward to improving CrimeSolutions includes your engagement and input.

Thank you for your continued partnership to make evidence-informed policies and practices accessible in pursuit of safety and justice.

With best regards,

Nancy La Vigne's signature

Nancy La Vigne, Ph.D.
Director, National Institute of Justice

Date Published: February 16, 2024