Cure Violence programs in New York City have become a staple during the de Blasio administration over the years, receiving $34 million in allocations while expanding into 17 precincts in high-crime neighborhoods. A study by John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2020 found that the drop in shootings over the years coincided with increased use of Cure Violence programs across the city.
[Cure Violence workers] “try to stop the cycle of retaliation, and because they are not seen as an extension of law enforcement, the people most likely to be walking around with handguns in their pocket will talk to them and will allow them to settle a dispute before it turns violent,” said Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Sheyla Delgado, deputy director for analytics at John Jay College and a researcher for the Cure Violence evaluation, says the comparisons offer promising evidence in favor of the program’s public health approach to violence reduction. She says what seems to make Cure Violence different from comparable programs that work to reduce violence is that it humanizes all of its participants.
An ongoing evaluation by John Jay College of Criminal Justice found one neighborhood experienced a 63% drop in monthly shooting victims from 2009 to 2016, based on New York Police Department data. New York spends approximately $40 million a year on Cure Violence programs. Slutkin estimates that big cities require about $15 million to $30 million to run an effective program, and small cities need $5 million to $10 million.