Recommendation area ▸

Community-Based Violence Prevention

The Problem ▸

It has long been recognized that law enforcement alone cannot prevent crime and make communities safe. Contemporary thinking suggests that crime and violence prevention must be a co-production between law enforcement agencies, the community they serve, and other parts of the criminal justice system, such as prosecutors and corrections. Because of the crucial role that law enforcement plays, it must — like other bedrock institutions — be carefully monitored to reduce the negative impact its actions have on the community and individuals. Much of policing focuses on reactive strategies such as stops, citations, and arrests, which can have a negative impact and create secondary harm to social structures and community stability. Collaboration is crucial to the effectiveness of programs and policies that touch so many lives, and strategies that strengthen police-community partnerships can reduce crime and victimization while also minimizing the collateral harm of over-policing and punitive criminal justice responses.

What We Know ▸

Council Recommendations ▸

Recommendation 14

Improve Community-Driven Violence Prevention Programs

Community-driven violence prevention and intervention strategies must be developed to supplement policing efforts. These should be data-driven, tailored to neighborhood needs, and focused on at-risk individuals. Community-based violence prevention programs should be evaluated for a variety of performance metrics, including changes in community perceptions (such as fear of crime and police-community relations) and disproportionate impacts on racial and ethnic minorities.

Recommendation 15

Violence Prevention Strategies Must Include Resources and Services

Whether operated by law enforcement or community-based programs, violence prevention strategies must provide resources and services to deter at-risk individuals from crime. Communities should be involved in developing strategies and programs, such as focused deterrence, which connects offenders with social, community, and economic resources and sources necessary for deterance, while still ensuring offender accountability.

Recommendation 16

Support Community Programs and Research Their Effectiveness

Community-led, community-based public-health approaches to reducing violence, including capacity-building, should be well supported. More research to reduce crime and the fear of crime without reliance on justice-system interventions and punitive measures is needed.

Further Research ▸

More research is needed to identify community violence prevention strategies that have the greatest impact on a range of public safety and community well-being indicators. For instance, some research has pointed to the importance of community buy-in, funding, community leadership, and adequate staffing.[50]

Community-based violence intervention programs should be assessed for long-term sustainability, particularly for multi-site programs. Factors such as variations in program fidelity, shifts in resources, incomplete buy-in, and conflicting priorities can interfere with effective implementation.[51]

Research should evaluate whether community-based violence intervention programs or hospital-based intervention programs improve racial disparities in access to services, programs, and other resources.

Citations ▸

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