Shooting incidents reported in each New York City census block group were divided over the population to create yearly rates of shooting incidents. Researchers then ranked all CBGs based on their rates of shooting incidents and identified the 50 CBGs with the highest rates in each year from 2015 to 2021.
Jeffrey Butts participated in a panel hosted by the Bureau of Governmental Research in New Orleans, discussing the potential of community-based violence prevention strategies.
. “It reminds me of the 1990s, in the sense that every incident of violence becomes a major news story,” said Jeffrey Butts, director of the research and evaluation center at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
“The things that cause crime to go up and down are largely societal, structural,” said Jeffrey Butts, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “It’s about employment, poverty rates, drug abuse, types of drug being abused, neighborhood conditions.”
Prevention is different than deterrence, and it uses other tools and resources. It lowers risks and builds assets. Risks are obstacles to safety that often metastasize across individuals and increase harm to entire communities, including substance abuse, antisocial peers, unemployment, and family violence.
Shootings in New York City remain a serious concern, and the most recent from NYPD data show different areas of the city are experiencing different trends.
“The Brooklyn recovery seems more striking than other boroughs,” Dr. Butts said. “The Brooklyn spike is horrendous when you look at it over time. But the most recent quarter, the data point is back to where it’s been bouncing around for the past 15 years.”
“Shooting trends in New York City remain a serious concern, but these quarter-specific, one-year differences declined for three straight quarters,” researchers Jeffrey Butts and Richard Espinobarros write.
Shooting trends in New York City remain a serious concern, but recent quarter-specific, one-year differences declined for three straight quarters from October 2020 through June 2021.
“Sadly, I’ve dedicated my life to using facts and data to influence crime policy. I don’t think we’re any better at it than we were 30 years ago,” Butts said. He has seen both Democrats and Republicans try to use crime stats to scare voters. It’s hard to stop them because “politics was way out ahead of information and the facts.”
Progressive-minded criminologists like Roman or Butts are boosters of community antiviolence intervention programs such as the Cure Violence model, in which more mature people from the neighborhood work as “violence interrupters” and seek to mediate disputes or defuse tensions before they get out of hand.
"We were already in a weakened condition when the pandemic hit -- class divisions, overt racism, partisanship, a really poor social support infrastructure -- so if you think about the effect of the pandemic on an 'epidemic' of shootings -- it's like the immune system of the United States was already suppressed," Jeffrey Butts, director of the research and evaluation center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told ABC News.
In 2021, JohnJayREC was asked to test whether the strategies of Fast Track improved crime and violence in the affected areas.
Jeffrey Butts interviewed by Andrea Linares about violent crime surges around the U.S. as President Biden unveils his plan to reduce nationwide violence.
Experts caution that while law enforcement is a vital part of public safety, police should be one part in a larger package of solutions. There are well-tested methods that decrease violence, but implementing them at scale will require patience, nuance, and a willingness to think past political narratives.
Jeffrey Butts: "Researchers can at least eliminate possible explanations. So, you can look at data and test hypotheses. One hypothesis that has been around (you alluded to it) is that it’s somehow related to Defunding the Police. So, there have been researchers who have looked at police budgets, and changes from year to year... and there’s really no relationship there.”
Shootings in New York City grew sharply in 2020 and remained elevated in 2021, but the degree of increase may be in decline.
Homicide rates in many U.S. cities remained elevated through early 2021, a distressing trend that began before the coronavirus pandemic struck, and experts are still trying to determine exactly why it is happening and how long it might last.
“Our public safety strategies have to be comprehensive and innovative and not just focused on the police,” said Sheyla Delgado, a deputy director for analytics at the Research & Evaluation Center.
"It’s where the story begins and where our attitudes begin in terms of how we perceive law enforcement," said Jeffrey Butts, a research professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "If you’re pulled over all the time, and you think other people are behaving the same way you are, but they’re pulling you over, you immediately start thinking that police are biased, which means government is biased, which causes you to doubt the whole enterprise of democracy and government. So, it’s really serious."
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.
Causal relationships are difficult to identify in complex and multi-part initiatives, but New York City’s falling rate of gun violence suggests that recent community initiatives may have helped to sustain previous gains.
Over the last five years the number of police stops and arrests involving Capital Region youths has fallen more than 45 percent, according to state data. It’s a stunning drop — but one without a clear single reason, say law enforcement and juvenile justice system professionals.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting series tracks violent crime trends using the four offenses of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. According to the FBI, youth arrests for these offenses grew one percent between 2016 and 2017.
Jeffrey A. Butts and Vincent Schiraldi Recidivism is not a robust measure of effectiveness for community corrections agencies. When used as the sole measure of effectiveness, recidivism misleads policymakers and the public, encourages inappropriate comparisons of dissimilar populations, and focuses policy on negative rather than positive outcomes. Policymakers who focus on recidivism as evidence of [...]