Rosa Tambasacan Affleck, University of New Hampshire, Durham


Rebuilding the Afghan National Police (ANP) and construction of ANP facilities were among the US Government (USG) and international partners’ infrastructure development efforts for the stability operation mission in Afghanistan since 2002. This study assesses how the introduction of these police stations has influenced the perception of neighborhood safety and local growth after a few years of use. This study brings together various methods and complementary datasets for triangulating qualitative and quantitative information and uses a hierarchical generalized linear model (HGLM) approach to investigate the impact of the addition of these police facilities to the community. The study hypothesizes that people would likely perceive greater neighborhood improvements, growth, police–community relations, and institutional influence by the addition of police stations in safer neighborhoods than they would in less safe neighborhoods.

This study selected two communities in the northern and eastern parts of Afghanistan that contain recently constructed ANP police stations; most of these facilities were completed in 2011 and required nearly three years to construct. The two study areas were subdivided into neighbor-hoods; characterization of the neighborhood type and density of the local population came from published GIS data and quantified growth using remotely sensed data. Existing results from previous survey datasets were used to describe people’s general perception of safety. A primary survey of the neighborhood residents and police was designed to collect data to specifically examine the influence of having police buildings and their institutional functions within the study areas.

The measures of safety resulting from having the police facilities showed contrasting out-comes: (a) people’s feeling of safety attributed to the ANP facilities and presence is higher in the less safe area (Study Area 2) than the more safe area (Study Area 1), and (b) people’s perception of the overall neighborhood safety is not related between the two study areas. Respondents in both study areas viewed their safety with equal importance. People’s present feeling of safety because of having police facilities at their present locations are associated with perceived trust and confidence in the police through their interaction in enforcing the law and maintaining public order. Most importantly, the ANP facilities contributed to a level of perceived institutional influence in promoting patriotism and national identity in the community. Overall, the addition of police infra-structure and institutions in these two study areas has supported security, resilience, and growth in the community.

The mixed-methods (survey, geospatial, and multilevel model analyses) used in this study provide an in-depth assessment with multiple outcomes of the impact of new police buildings on neighborhoods and the changes in providing safety and resiliency within the communities in our study areas. These measures provide novel insights that are practical for assessing impacts on infra-structure development in conflict-ridden environments and can facilitate better-informed decisions for future infrastructure development supporting USG missions.