[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.
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.
In October 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it had “smashed records” by charging more than 15,300 defendants with federal firearms offenses, 17 percent more than the previous record. The press release from the Justice Department didn’t cite the year or number for the previous record, and we were unable to reach a Justice spokesperson by deadline.
A John Jay College study compared a South Bronx neighborhood served by Cure Violence with a demographically similar neighborhood that did not have violence interrupters. But perhaps more promising than the decrease in shootings were the shifts in attitudes toward violence the John Jay survey found among young men in the neighborhood.
The John Jay College of Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation Center analyzed the New York City experience with the Cure Violence model in 2017, seven years after the strategy was adopted. It found reductions in gun injuries of 37–50 percent in the South Bronx and Brooklyn. The center also documented a 14 percent reduction in attitudes supporting violence, with no change in control populations. However, more research is needed.