The crime and justice field recently started to label a wide array of violence prevention strategies as Community Violence Interventions (or CVI). Many of these strategies depend on law enforcement and social services, but the most innovative approaches are community-centered and community-sourced. They are grassroots efforts that rely on the resources of neighborhoods and residents themselves, operating separately from law enforcement and traditional human services. These strategies could be called Community Violence Interventions at the Roots (or CVI-R).
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.
The key, we heard over and over again, is to have cops work in tandem with community-based “violence interrupters” — credible messengers from troubled communities who have the savvy and connections to quietly intervene at critical moments and persuade gang members, dope dealers, and other weapon-carriers not to resort to violence.
"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.
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.
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.”
Jeffrey Butts said that while he is encouraged by1 the Biden administration's public commitment to gun violence research, long hobbled by years of underfunding at the federal level, more attention needs to be paid to community-based programs that don't rely on police intervention.
The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE.org) hosted a Google Hangout (online live chat) between the director of the Research & Evaluation Center, Jeffrey Butts, and Cynthia Lum from the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University. The conversation covered a number of topics, including the nature of evidence-based practices, how programs or practices become [...]
Butts, Jeffrey A. (2012). What's the Evidence for Evidence-Based Practice? Research and Evaluation Data Bits [2012-10]. New York, NY: Research and Evaluation Center, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. Research evidence does not emerge from a pristine and impartial search for the most effective practices. The evidence we have today is the [...]
Jeffrey A. Butts and Jennifer Ortiz (2011). Teen courts -- Do they work and why? New York State Bar Association Journal, 83(1): 18-21. Despite their popularity, there are many unanswered questions about the effectiveness of teen courts. The overall impression one gets from the evaluation literature is positive, but researchers have yet to identify exactly why [...]