Minneapolis Star Tribune — Groups Arise, Spurred by Minneapolis Gun Violence, to Enact Early Interventions

By reaching out quickly to shooting victims, they hope to deter revenge.

by Libor Jany
Star Tribune
September 2, 2021

… In Minneapolis, the mounting number of shootings has set off ideological debates over how best to combat crime leading up to this fall’s citywide elections, when residents will vote on whether to replace the existing police force with a new agency that proponents say would seek to identify and address the root causes of crime. But, in recent months, the council has come under increasing pressure to act, both from some community and faith leaders who blame it for the rise in violent crime and from activists, who worry that lawmakers are going back on their pledge to radically transform public safety.

Research on what works

Jeffrey Butts said that while he is encouraged by the Biden administration’s public commitment to gun violence research, long hobbled by years of underfunding at the federal level, more attention needs to be paid to community-based programs that don’t rely on police intervention. For decades, cities embraced tough-on-crime policies that portrayed the perpetrators of violence as “monsters,” without addressing the hopelessness and severe trauma that many of them were experiencing, said Butts, the director of the research and evaluation center at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Public outrage over rising violent crime reverses years of progress by prevention programs like Next Step, said Butts, while adding that further studies are needed to determine whether efforts that have shown promise in some cities would work elsewhere. …

[ read the article ]