New York Magazine — The Risks of Overselling Violence Interruption

Errol Louis
New York Magazine
February 5, 2022

… “I’ve asked the Congress to provide $200 million to invest in community violence intervention programs as well — they work; they work — where community members with credibility work directly with people that are most likely to commit crimes or be victims of gun crimes,” Biden said at police headquarters on Thursday. “And they work.”

But do they? The evidence in New York and elsewhere suggests a few programs have done impressive work over the short term (a year or two). But the groups are sparse, underfunded, and engaged in a type of effort that can’t easily be measured, managed, or scaled up. Jeffrey Butts, a researcher at John Jay College of Criminal Justice who has researched interrupter programs calls the research on their effectiveness “mixed, incomplete, and very difficult to do.”

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