"The movement needs support with evidence and research, not just clever arguments,” Butts said.
Officials in Kansas City ask for evidence of effectiveness for the Cure Violence approach. A 2017 review of two sites in New York City by John Jay College of Criminal Justice at The City University of New York found that gun violence rates decreased in the two catchment areas reviewed — gun injuries dropping about 50% in one neighborhood after the Cure Violence program was implemented.
"[Violence interrupters] are from the same streets, grew up in the same areas and had the same experiences as young people and so they just have more access and access means influence," said Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "The possibility of influencing someone's behavior and attitude is stronger if you come at them as an equal."
Studies conducted of two CMS sites by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Research and Evaluation Center found that, in addition to a decline in shootings over two years, trust in law enforcement increased, and fewer people turned to violence. "Over time, attitudes did change, especially in the Cure Violence neighborhoods,” said Sheyla Delgado, a researcher at John Jay who has coauthored several CMS studies.
Proponents say that the number of shootings they prevented is difficult to track, and benefits like better community-police relations are hard to quantify. Despite that, a review by researchers at John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that average monthly shootings decreased 28 percent across CMS sites in the first two years of the effort.
Jeffrey Butts joined Yuripzy Morgan on WBAL News Radio in Baltimore, where City officials are launching new efforts to reduce community violence.
Jeffrey Butts joins a discussion about the effectiveness of violence interruption programs in Baltimore and elsewhere.
On the September 19, 2021 episode of City Watch on WBAI 99.5 FM, Host Jeff Simmons focused on gun violence prevention with guests: Erica Ford, Founder and CEO of Life Camp Inc., New York City Councilmember Adrienne Adams, and Dr. Jeffrey Butts, Research Professor and Director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
I often wonder, how did we get here — ending August with 357 homicides, on track to be our deadliest year recorded for shooting deaths?... Other cities, like New York and Oakland, Calif., have been where we are today but made improvements. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. A report published last year by John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Research and Evaluation Center, authored by a diverse group of academic consultants, lays out a framework for action I believe we can apply in Philadelphia.
“The evidence is mixed,” Butts, who led the 2015 review and subsequent research on interrupters, said. “We need to do more studies.”