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Cure Violence



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

Risk Factors


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

Physical violence/aggression

Violence at age 13

Violent victimization


Delinquent siblings

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

Community disorganization

Economic deprivation/poverty/residence in a disadvantaged neighborhood

Exposure to violence and racial prejudice

Feeling unsafe in the neighborhood

High-crime neighborhood

Neighborhood physical disorder

Neighborhood youth in trouble


Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency

Association with gang-involved peers/relatives

Gang membership

Peer alcohol/drug use


Model Program Guide: Promising Program

Crime Solution: Promising Program

National Gang Center: Effective program


Cure Violence
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

Date Created: April 7, 2021