The AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program (AMUS) aims to improve public health and safety in Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan. AmeriCorps members work to increase public safety by: 1) partnering with the local police to facilitate a crime mapping and analysis (CompStat) program to identify crime “hot spots”; 2) organizing neighborhood community patrols; 3) providing support to survivors of intimate partner violence; 4) implementing safe routes to neighborhood schools for youth; 5) securing vacant and open structures; and, 6) providing resources to help reduce property crime, such as home safety assessments and anti-theft auto devices. Recently, AMUS members have expanded their efforts to include public health activities, such as installing water filtration resources and sharing information with residents to increase the use of filtered water to reduce lead exposure, and distributing air purifiers filters to help residents improve home indoor air quality. To better understand the impact of the program in relation to costs, AmeriCorps commissioned a return on investment (ROI) analysis.
- Benefits of AMUS include:
- Reduced costs and increased economic benefits to society from reduced criminal activity in neighborhoods served by AMUS.
- Reduced lifetime spending on the criminal justice system due to AMUS's summer employment program.
- Additional societal benefits from increased employment by participants in AMUS's summer employment program.
- Additional lifetime earnings resulting from decreased lead exposure.
- Additional earnings by AmeriCorps members.
- Living allowances, stipends, and education awards.
- Additional lifetime earnings for youth members.
- Increased tax revenue for government.
- Reduced lifetime spending on corrections, public assistance, and social insurance.
- The program produces strong returns in the short-, medium-, and long-term for total benefits per federal dollar and total benefits per funder dollar. The federal government benefits per federal dollar calculations estimate losses for the short- and medium-term scenarios and modest returns in the long-term scenario. Most criminal justice expenditures are at the state and local level, so these results are consistent with the design of AMUS.
Return on Investment (ROI) Studies
AmeriCorps and its grantees have invested significant resources in evaluating different agency programs and supported program models designed to improve a range of outcomes for national service members and volunteers, children, families, organizations, and communities across America. AmeriCorps has commissioned ICF International to conduct ROI analyses to help measure the program performance and build the base of evidence for future resource allocation decisions. In addition, each ROI study helps AmeriCorps communicate the value of its programs to relevant stakeholders. The ROI Studies Project will produce 16 ROI assessments from FY20 to FY23.
AmeriCorps Office of Research and Evaluation Commissioned Report