AP News — Gun Violence Leads Community Groups to Take Bolder Action

by Thalia Beaty Associated Press July 19, 2022

… The Biden administration has made community violence intervention a key priority. It has designated $5 billion in support over eight years, though that funding has stalled in Congress, along with the rest of the administration’s Build Back Better legislation.

… Jeffrey A. Butts, director of research at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and one of the authors of a recent review of community intervention programs, cautioned against drawing easy conclusions about the effectiveness of such intervention.

“They say, ‘We started doing program X here two years ago and our shootings have gone down by 30%.’ And the audience applauds and everyone congratulates themselves,” Butts said. ”But that’s not evidence that the program resulted in that change.”

Some evidence does support such intervention, but Butts noted that many projects called community violence intervention actually target younger children or housing or economic programs. Without rigorous evaluation, he said, it’s difficult to assess the effectiveness of community violence intervention or determine which strategies work best.

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