Cure Violence model reduces shootings in NYC

A scene from the documentary "The Interrupters"

A scene from “The Interrupters,” a documentary about the violence prevention program.

A new report from the research center of the New York court system says the Cure Violence approach to eradicating gunfire on the streets has reduced the average monthly shootings in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn by 6 percent — at a time when shooting rates increased by up to 28 percent in surrounding neighborhoods.

The Brooklyn anti-violence project, known as Save Our Streets in Crown Heights, replicates the Cure Violence model — formerly known as Ceasefire Chicago — developed by Dr. Gary Slutkin, professor of epidemiology and international health at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.

The report, “Testing a Public Health Approach to Gun Violence,” from the Center for Court Innovation, estimates that gun violence in Crown Heights was 20 percent lower than it would have been without Save Our Streets, from the program’s start in January 2010 through May 2012.

Cure Violence takes a public-health approach to reducing violence by treating it like an infectious disease and working to reverse the epidemic.

The model has three main strategies: detect and interrupt potentially violent events, identify individuals involved in transmission, and change the social norms of the communities in which violence occurs. It relies on collaboration among community leaders, clergy, private citizens, and law enforcement.

Key to the approach are “violence interrupters” — community members who are known on the streets, who identify individuals at the highest risk for violence, interrupt the violent encounter, and direct the disputants to a range of services including employment, job training and education.

The Cure Violence approach is now being used in more than a dozen U.S. cities and a growing number of countries. Separate studies have shown it to reduce violence in Chicago, Baltimore and New York.

In New York City, the model has been implemented in Brooklyn, East Brooklyn, Harlem, South Bronx and Jamaica Queens, as well as in Albany and Yonkers.

UIC ranks among the nation’s leading research universities and is Chicago’s largest university with 27,500 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state’s major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world. More information about UIC.

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