What Works (and Doesn’t) in Violence Prevention

Cities United is committed to providing current research and other information on violence-related deaths that can be translated into practice. This page provides an entryway to important articles on this topic.

These articles are provided for informational purposes. Cities United does not endorse any individual or organization associated with these materials.

Policing Crime Guns

In this chapter we present new evidence on the effects of police programs against illegal gun carrying that draws on data from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As with all nonexperimental policy evaluations, identifying causal program effects is difficult. However, several features of Pittsburgh’s 1998 policing program offer a unique opportunity to isolate the impact of the police […]

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Violence Prevention: Moving from Evidence to Implementation

Violence is intentional harm caused to another person through the use of threats or physical assault. Although some demographic groups are more vulnerable than others, violence causes death or emotional or physical harm to men, women, and children of all ages, races, ethnicities, and religions across communities and cultures. Violence prevention must include stakeholders from […]

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Aiming for Evidence-Based Gun Policy

This paper outlines the kinds of research-based evidence that are relevant to informing the debate over policies to reduce gun violence. We then turn to a review of the evidence, beginning with a brief summary of data on gun violence in America, and then of the array of gun policies currently in effect. Next we consider […]

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Strategies to Prevent Urban Violence: A Companion Report to the SSYI Evidence and Implementation Review

While the federal government has been steadily increasing support for funding violence prevention activities in urban centers and among older youth involved with guns and gangs, very few states have made this type of violence the focus of their crime prevention efforts. The preponderance of state-level plans and funded programs aimed at curbing violence either […]

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What Works to Prevent Urban Violence Among Proven Risk Young Men? The Safe and Successful Youth Initiative: Evidence and Implementation Review

The Massachusetts Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI) commissioned a review of the evidence underlying effective programs designed to reduce serious violence among targeted groups of young offenders. A Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) methodology was used to identify and determine the effectiveness of rigorous evaluation studies of programs most similar to the SSYI intervention. A […]

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The Boston Gun Project: Impact Evaluation and Findings

This impact evaluation focused on four key questions with respect to “Operation Ceasefire” in Boston:: 1) Were there significant reductions in youth homicides and other indicators of nonfatal serious gun violence associated with the implementation of Operation Ceasefire in Boston; 2)Did the timing of Boston’s significant reduction in youth homicide coincide with the implementation of […]

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Policing Problem Places: Crime Hot Spots and Effective Prevention

In this book, Anthony A. Braga and David L. Weisburd make the case that hot spots policing is an effective approach to crime prevention that should be engaged by police departments in the United States and other countries. There is a strong and growing body of rigorous scientific evidence that the police can control crime […]

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Don’t Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America

Don’t Shoot is David M. Kennedy’s chronicle of his decades-long crusade to solve one of America’s most pressing and shameful social problems. Kennedy, who engineered the “Boston Miracle” in the 1990s, cutting youth homicide by two-thirds at the height of the crack epidemic, reveals the history and the strategy behind his commonsense yet revolutionary approach […]

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When Crime Prevention Harms: A Review of Systematic Reviews

Two key questions are of central interest to this paper: What has been the state of research on harmful effects of individual-based crime prevention programs and what are the theoretical, methodological, and programmatic characteristics of individual-based crime prevention programs with reported harmful effects? This paper reports on the first empirical review of harmful effects of crime […]

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What Works in Youth Violence Prevention: A Review of the Literature

Given the high rates at which adolescents engage in violence, the strong link between adolescent and adult violence, and the financial and social costs of violence, the prevention of violent behavior is a national priority. The authors  of this paper conducted a comprehensive review of evaluations utilizing quasi-experimental or experimental research designs to assess violence […]

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