Gun violence is a societal issue that has plagued various communities. The United States alone records almost 13,000 gun homicides annually. Implementing police-first solutions such as greater surveillance, arrests, and incarceration have often been the first response. However, these solutions often fail to tackle the roots of gun violence, as complexities such as racial discrimination and police’s use of violence perpetuate, rather than solving the cycle of violence. Communities with the highest crime rates may feel abandoned by the broken justice system and police, tinged with a legacy of police brutality and discrimination, making community cooperation unlikely.
Community-based violence intervention programs (CVIP) have emerged as evidence-backed, cost-effective solutions centered around changing neighborhoods’ cultural norms. They usually consist of mentorship, community support, and training programs. Such programs have reduced crime rates and yielded a community-driven shift towards anti-violence.
In West Chicago, IL, community-based violence intervention programs reduced shootings by 67% in their first year.
Safe Streets program in Baltimore, MD, reduced serious violence rates by 69%
Safe and Successful Youth Initiative near the Boston area, MA, have yielded a significant reduction in violent crime, homicide, and aggravated assault.
Components of previously successful community-based violence intervention programs include:
Community outreach – outreach workers who are credible members of the community actively mediate and prevent retaliatory violence
Changing norms and environments –mentorship programs, education campaigns, and community events
Comprehensive support – support services, therapy, paid transitional jobs
Operations independent of law enforcement
Hospital-based violence intervention (HVIP) – engage victims immediately after traumatic injuries, preventing retaliation and support services
With greater awareness of police brutality, the demand has risen for budget reallocation from police spending to violence interruption separate from law enforcement. As COVID-19 and economic challenges have increased many communities’ vulnerability, implementations of community-based violence intervention programs should be considered as sustainable solutions to engage community stakeholders and improve safety for all.
Community-based violence intervention programs (CVIP) have emerged as an evidence-backed, cost-effective solution that centers around changing neighborhoods’ cultural norms.
CVIP has been effective in reducing crime rates for violent crime, homicide, and aggravated assault.
Communities have been demanding budget reallocation from police spending to violence interruption separate from law enforcement.
To nominate your city for an Advance Peace Fellowship, click “Nominate”
To support and donate to the Health Alliance for Violence Prevention, click “Donate”