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.
Those supportive of reform may be quick to reverse themselves out of fear of being cast as soft on crime, so new initiatives need to be protected with solid evidence. If a city wanted to radically reduce expenditures on policing, Butts said, “I would totally back it, but I would be terrified we would squander all the good energy by not being fully prepared.”
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.
As Jeffrey Butts, director of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice research and evaluation center in New York City, noted four years ago, “the public health approach of [Cure Violence] CV currently merits the label ‘promising’ rather than ‘effective.’” “CV, however, offers something to communities that other well-known violence reduction models cannot,” he added. “It is potentially very cost-efficient, and it places less demand on the political and administrative resources of law enforcement and the larger criminal justice system. "