Cure Violence (formerly CeaseFire) is another effective broad community approach to preventing and reducing gang violence. Undergirded by the public health model, the program approaches violence as an infectious disease. The program tries to interrupt the next event, the next transmission, the next violent activity” (Kotlowitz, 2008). The program targets a small population: members of the community with a high chance of “being shot or being shooters” in the near future. This model prevents violence through a three-pronged approach.
Detection and Interruption: Cure Violence is a data-driven model. Statistical information and street knowledge helps identify where to concentrate efforts, focus resources, and intervene in violence. This data identifies communities most impacted and provides a picture of those individuals at the highest risk for violence.
Behavior Change: Cure Violence intervenes in crises, mediates disputes between individuals, and intercedes in group disputes to prevent violent events. Outreach workers counsel clients and connect them with services; violence interrupters engage members of the target population on the street, mediating conflicts between gangs and working to prevent the cycle of retaliatory violence from starting after a violent incident. The core training for employees is related directly to the work and focuses on conflict mediation and response.
Changing Community Norms: Cure Violence works to change the thinking on violence at the community level and for society at large through the use of public education, community-building activities, and motivational interviewing with the highest risk. For disproportionately impacted communities, violence has come to be accepted as an appropriate—even expected—way to solve conflict. At the street level, Cure Violence provides tools for those most likely to be involved in altercations to resolve conflicts in other ways.
An independent study found significantly reduced homicides and shootings in six of the seven Cure Violence sites, in some of the most violent, gang-ridden communities in Chicago. The evaluation of a Cure Violence program in Baltimore showed statistically significant reductions in all four program sites with reductions in killings of up to 56% and in shootings of up to 44% as well as strong evidence of norm change – rejecting the use of violence – in the program community. Altogether, Cure Violence presently has active programs in more than 25 cities in 8 countries
Exposure to firearm violence
Few social ties (involved in social activities, popularity)
Gang involvement in adolescence
High alcohol/drug use
High drug dealing
Illegal gun ownership/carrying
Violence at age 13
Family history of problem behavior/criminal involvement
Family poverty/low family socioeconomic status
Family violence (child maltreatment, partner violence, conflict)
Living in a small house
Poor parental supervision (control, monitoring, and child management)
Frequent truancy/absences/suspensions; expelled from school; dropping out of school
Low school attachment/bonding/motivation/commitment to school
Poor school attitude/performance; academic failure
Poorly organized and functioning schools/inadequate school climate/negative labeling by teachers
Availability and use of drugs in the neighborhood
Availability of firearms
Economic deprivation/poverty/residence in a disadvantaged neighborhood
Exposure to violence and racial prejudice
Feeling unsafe in the neighborhood
Neighborhood physical disorder
Neighborhood youth in trouble
Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency
Association with gang-involved peers/relatives
Peer alcohol/drug use
Model Program Guide: Promising Program
Crime Solution: Promising Program
National Gang Center: Effective program
1603 West Taylor Street, MC 923
Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: 1-866-TO-CEASE or toll-free (866) 862-3273
Web site: http://cureviolence.org/
Gorman-Smith, D. & Cosey-Gay, F. (2014). Residents’ and Clients’ Perceptions of Safety and CeaseFire Impact on Neighborhood Crime and Violence. Chicago, IL: School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago.
Ransford, C., Kane, C., Metzger, T., Quintana, E., and Slutkin, G. (2010). “An examination of the role of CeaseFire, the Chicago police, Project Safe Neighborhoods, and displacement in the reduction in homicide in Chicago in 2004.” In R. J. Chaskin (ed.), Youth gangs and community intervention: Research, practice, and evidence (pp. 76–108). New York: Columbia University Press.
Skogan, W. G., Hartnett, S. M., Bump, N., and Dubois, J. (2008). Evaluation of CeaseFire-Chicago. Final Report to the National Institute of Justice. Chicago, IL: Northwestern University. Retrieved from http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/227181.pdf.
Webster, D. W., Whitehill, J. M., Vernick, J. S., and Curriero, F. C. (2013). “Effects of Baltimore’s Safe Streets Program on Gun Violence: A Replication of Chicago’s CeaseFire Program.” Journal of Urban Health, 90, 27–40.
Butts J.A..C.G.Bostwick, L. and Porter, J.R. (2015 “CureViolence: A public health model to reduce gang violence.” Annual Review of Public Health, 36, 39-53