How to Create Anti-Violence Strategies That Work

Some of the urban neighborhoods singled out as the most violent places in the country are mislabeled. In most of them homicides are confined to identifiable “hot spots” which require more focused intervention, according to experts at the New York “Smart on Crime” conference Wednesday.

Some of the urban neighborhoods singled out as the most violent places in the country are mislabeled, says a former senior Department of Justice official.

According to Thomas Abt, a former chief of staff for the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs who is now a Senior Research Fellow with the Center for International Development at Harvard University, a better description of them would be peaceful places plagued by a “few hot spots.”

Thomas Abt

Thomas Abt

Redefining them in that way can help shape more effective programs to reduce violent crime—and especially gun violence— in America, Abt told participants Wednesday, at a panel in the second and final day of the “Smart on Crime” conference at John Jay College.

“The most effective strategies are the specific ones,” said Abt, who is also a former deputy secretary for public safety for New York State. “(These) engage the highest risk places and people.”

Experts who advocate focusing on issues like poverty, guns or “cultural values,” are in effect concentrating on “everything besides the problem, which is that violence concentrates in hot spots,” he said.

Other members of the panel, entitled “Reducing Crime and Violence,” agreed.

“We can reduce crime with less law enforcement,” said David Kennedy, a professor of criminal justice at John  Jay College and director of the National Network for Safe Communities.

“Most murderers are not serial killers—locking up one does not affect the next one,” said Kennedy, who moderated the panel.

He added that there were now many examples of anti-violence programs that  work, where “ordinary people can make a difference.”

Violence in a few at-risk neighborhoods probably accounted for the startling 60% increase in Chicago’s homicide rate between 2015 and 2016, suggested Roseanna Ander, Executive Director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

Roseanna Ander

Roseanna Ander. Photo courtesy Harvard Club of NY

“When you have three million people in the city, 60% is a lot of people—it was a historical event (in which) the increase in homicide each month was higher than the homicide rate for the same month the year before.”

Policymakers’ failure to fund local community intervention programs might also have accounted for the increase, she said.

“In the state of Illinois, we had two years of not passing a budget,” Anders said. “The institutions set up in neighborhoods that work with highest risk population were decimated by the budget crisis.”

Devone Boggan, Founding Director of Advance Peace also noted the lack of programs and institutions in place to prevent gun violence in many cities.

Advance Peace works with “a targeted group of individuals at the core of gun hostilities, and bridges the gap between anti-violence programming and a hard-to-reach population at the center of violence in urban areas,” he said.

“What I found out trying to locate the right people is that we didn’t have any place to take them,” said Boggan. “What became real for us was…the options we had weren’t attractive, legitimate, or credible to the population”

Boggan and his team then decided to meet face to face with active firearm offenders and ask, “what can work?”

“What we found is these active firearm offenders are waiting for us to show up with something, they wanted to be engaged every day,” he said. “They wanted to trust social services, but found it difficult to. They needed to be taken to those social services.

“They needed to be walked through that door and stayed with until they said ‘I’m ready to do this on my own.’”

It can be difficult for those in the criminal justice system to trust social service providers, as well as the police officers in their community.

megan hadley

Megan Hadley

In communities where gun violence is prominent, most community members know who the violent offenders are, and they expect their local policemen to know as well.

“We keep officers in the same area to gain the trust of the community” said Robert Tracy, Police Chief of the Wilmington, Del. Police Department. “We are not about arresting everyone, just the most violent individuals.

“Lowering crime, reducing murders, and arresting less people. Isn’t that the goal?”

Megan Hadley is a news intern with The Crime Report. She welcomes readers’ comments.

from https://thecrimereport.org

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Observations Antonin (Anthony) Scalia (deceased) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (current) were friends and Associate Justices for the U.S. Supreme Court. They were fierce ideological opponents. Both agreed that their friendship and willingness to debate made their Supreme Court decisions stronger, and their personal lives better. We need to move from argument winning to problem-solving. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five […]

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

Why Violent Crime Increased

Observations To the tens of thousands of victims of increasing violent crime, telling them that, statistically, they have never lived in safer times seems uncouth and disrespectful. Lacking social indicators as to poverty or jobs (unemployment is currently at an all-time low), the only explanation for the rise in violent crime is the morale of […]

Observations To the tens of thousands of victims of increasing violent crime, telling them that, statistically, they have never lived in safer times seems uncouth and disrespectful. Lacking social indicators as to poverty or jobs (unemployment is currently at an all-time low), the only explanation for the rise in violent crime is the morale of […]

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

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Observations Numerous newspaper editorials and many advocates disputed reports of rising crime, saying that we have never lived in safer times. But hundreds of articles cited increases in violent crime for their states and cities. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by […]

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

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Observations Do current events influence our ability to lead and to see things clearly? Success won’t come from the media or advocates or the criminological community; it will come from the women and men of the justice system. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed […]

Observations Do current events influence our ability to lead and to see things clearly? Success won’t come from the media or advocates or the criminological community; it will come from the women and men of the justice system. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed […]

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

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Observation Is dishonesty an inherent part of crime discussions? Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Post-Masters’ […]

Observation Is dishonesty an inherent part of crime discussions? Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Post-Masters’ […]

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

Why Do We Lie About Increasing Violence?

Observations It’s so obvious that violent crime is increasing that when I’m told otherwise, I get nauseous. Note: Crime reports for the United States for all of 2016 will be offered in September and October. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by […]

Observations It’s so obvious that violent crime is increasing that when I’m told otherwise, I get nauseous. Note: Crime reports for the United States for all of 2016 will be offered in September and October. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by […]

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

Repeat Victims Represent 50 Percent of Violent Crime

Observations It’s up to us within the criminal justice system to identify repeat victims and those with high rates of victimization to provide counseling, victim assistance and guidance to keep them safe. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news […]

Observations It’s up to us within the criminal justice system to identify repeat victims and those with high rates of victimization to provide counseling, victim assistance and guidance to keep them safe. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news […]

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

Criminologist Rebukes Peers’ Flawed (and Liberal) Research

The University of Cincinnati’s John Paul Wright writes, “In short, while academic criminology has had much to say about crime, most of it has been wrong.” He blames a predominant liberal bent in his profession.

Writing in the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, University of Cincinnati criminologist John Paul Wright suggests that a dominant liberal mindset of his profession has led to a preponderance of flawed academic research. He writes, “In short, while academic criminology has had much to say about crime, most of it has been wrong. How can an academic discipline be so wrongheaded? And should we listen to criminologists today when, say, they call for prisons to be emptied, cops to act as glorified playground attendants, and criminal sentences to be dramatically reduced, if not eliminated?”

His 3,600-word essay concludes, “The current national conversation about criminal-justice reform is well intentioned, but we run the risk of succumbing to passionate rhetoric and to being misled by promises built on flimsy evidence. Gains made in reducing crime have been hard-won, but faulty reform can easily erode them. Its costs will be measured in lost lives and suffering. The reality of crime does not easily lend itself to analysis by spreadsheet; nor is it a matter of arcane theory or philosophical principles to those who’ve been victimized. Reform efforts must recognize these stubborn facts. We encourage policymakers to listen to what criminologists have to say—but we also encourage them to pay attention to what they don’t say, which is often more important.”

from https://thecrimereport.org

Can We Cut Probation Caseloads by 50 Percent?

Observations So the bottom line is that we can “manage” the probation population by limiting interactions. But unlike the advocates, I’m not going to tell you that it’s without a risk to public safety. The bottom line is that people caught up in criminal activity tend to continue their offending. The American criminal justice system […]

Observations So the bottom line is that we can “manage” the probation population by limiting interactions. But unlike the advocates, I’m not going to tell you that it’s without a risk to public safety. The bottom line is that people caught up in criminal activity tend to continue their offending. The American criminal justice system […]

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net