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Nine Strategies to Guide Efforts to Reduce Youth Gun Violence

April 22, 2022

Gun violence, including that perpetrated by young people, is a pernicious problem for many communities, particularly those facing historically high levels of concentrated disadvantage and disinvestment. To effectively address youth gun violence and establish and maintain peace, communities need stable safety infrastructures and effective interventions.We developed a research-based practice guide to help local governments, law enforcement agencies, and antiviolence organizations determine how to shape their approaches to reducing gun violence perpetrated by young people ages 10 to 25 in gangs or groups. Here, we summarize the guide's recommendations on how to develop effective interventions and build a broader safety infrastructure that supports the success of different partners working to protect young people and communities from gun violence.

A Research-Based Practice Guide to Reduce Youth Gun and Gang/Group Violence

January 3, 2022

While extensive research exists, the field lacks a current and translational synthesis of what works to reduce youth group and gun violence. In response, the Urban Institute developed a research-based practice guide to inform local government, law enforcement, and community-violence-intervention stakeholders as they implement new antiviolence interventions and refine existing ones. To inform the development of the guide, Urban researchers conducted a comprehensive literature synthesis of research on violence reduction interventions and conducted a scan of interventions representing well-known antiviolence models and other innovative strategies. Drawing on the findings from the literature synthesis and scan of practice, the practice guide presents recommendations around nine practice areas related to building an infrastructure to support a multi-faceted antiviolence strategy and implementing effective violence reduction programs.

Learning to Build Police-Community Trust Implementation Assessment Findings from the Evaluation of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

September 8, 2019

This research report documents the training, policy development, and reconciliation activities of the six cities that took part in the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, an effort to promote more equitable, just, and respectful policing practices and improve relationships and trust between law enforcement and community members. We found that the training component of the Initiative, which exposed officers to concepts of procedural justice and implicit bias, was implemented as intended and was well received by officers. In addition, the reconciliation framework used to improve relationships between police and communities was powerful and impactful, leading police departments to make changes to their policies to build trust and institutionalize improvements to practices. We also observed that local contexts affected the implementation process, with factors such as police leadership stability and the dynamics underlying relations between police, political leadership, and the community facilitating or impeding progress.

Impact of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice on Police Administrative Outcomes

August 8, 2019

This report examines the degree to which activities associated with the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice – a six-city effort to promote more equitable, just, and respectful policing practices and improve relationships and trust between law enforcement and community members – yielded their intended impacts on crime rates, departmental practices, and police-community interactions. Analyses of administrative data indicated that the impacts of the interventions varied considerably by site – as did the availability and richness of sites' data. Changes in calls for service, violent crimes, and property crimes were mixed across sites. Two of the cities observed deceases in the amount of use of force incidents, but there was no reduction in the racial disparity of those events. While rates of pedestrian and traffic stops generally declined after the start of the National Initiative's primary activities, they ultimately returned to previous levels. In addition, arrest rates declined across sites, but no differences emerged in arrest rates by racial or ethnic characteristics. Site-specific findings and their association with National Initiative activities are discussed in detail.

Put the Guns Down: Outcomes and Impacts of the Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy

August 22, 2017

Across the United States, policymakers, practitioners, and communities are seeking ways to reduce the lethal violence highly concentrated in a relatively small number of urban neighborhoods. With funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC) collaborated with the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and other city stakeholders to implement the Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy (VRS), beginning in 2009. Chicago VRS identifies and targets street groups disproportionately responsible for gun violence and works to deter additional violence using a three-pronged strategy: criminal justice sanctions, community moral suasion, and social services provision. The intervention includes call-in meetings in the targeted police districts, during which identified group members are put on notice by VRS partners—including top leadership from CPD, federal and state prosecutors, and credible community messengers—that although they are valued community members, gun violence must stop, and that street groups represented in the meeting that continue to be involved in shootings will be the target of coordinated enforcement actions. Researchers at the Urban Institute and Yale University, in partnership with NNSC, conducted a comprehensive, mixed-methods, quasi-experimental outcome and impact evaluation of Chicago VRS funded by the MacArthur Foundation. The evaluation began in November 2011, seeking to determine whether and how Chicago VRS affected group member–involved violence and how the intervention may have been related to perceptions of group members, community residents, and police officers.

Mistrust and Ambivalence between Residents and the Police: Evidence from Four Chicago Neighborhoods

July 31, 2017

This brief examines the fractured relationship between residents in high-crime Chicago neighborhoods and the police that serve those communities. Based on surveys of people living in and police officers serving in four Chicago police districts on the city's south and west sides collected as part of the evaluation of the Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy, these data demonstrate ambivalence between the police and residents. Community members do not generally perceive the police as acting in a procedurally fair manner and do not support their work; this perception is particularly high among people with recent arrest histories in co-offending networks. Police officers do not believe the community trusts them, and officers express little confidence or trust in those living in the districts they police. However, residents are generally willing to cooperate with the police on crime control efforts.

Policing 2016 To Deliver Safety, Police Need Legitimacy and Accountability

November 11, 2015

Much of the national debate on policing in 2015 has rested on a false premise—that community demands for greater police accountability come at the expense of effectively addressing crime. In fact, police need accountability and legitimacy in the communities they serve if they are to deliver safety. While policing is a local governmental function, federal policymakers have an important role to play in helping policing practice reflect this truth. The next president will have a wide range of funding, agenda setting, and enforcement tools that can elevate and spread the best in policing and compel reform where necessary.

Surveying the Field: State-Level Findings From the 2008 Parole Practices Survey

August 23, 2011

Surveys the use of evidence-based parole supervision practices based on a risk reduction approach across states; obstacles to their implementation; and approaches to enhancing parolee motivation. Profiles efforts to improve practices in three states.