Curbing Violence: What Works
Violent crime, particularly homicide, is rising rapidly in cities across the USA. Recent reports from the Council find a 30% surge in murders in 2020 compared to the previous year, and a 16% increase for the first half of 2021. Meanwhile, property and drug crimes declined during these same periods.
At its fourth and fifth sessions, the Violent Crime Working Group discussed community-based responses to rising violent crime. Consistent with the Group’s mission and its previous meeting, the sessions focused on community-based strategies that local decision-makers can execute quickly to engage those people and places at the highest risk for violence.
A review of four of the most commonly used violence-reduction strategies made clear that no single response was sufficient to curb the rising toll of deaths and injuries in neighborhoods considered “at-risk”. But each of the strategies―cognitive behavioral therapy, hospital-based intervention, the use of street outreach workers, and “environmental crime prevention”― have produced positive results in the cities where they’ve been used.
Their success depends on the use of properly trained individuals, a focus on achievable results and, not surprisingly, sufficient funding and technical assistance to see the project through.