We’ve been following this effort, as reported by the New Statesman, under its various names over the years, here and here most recently, to see if it has any legs, and it has some anecdotally, but not yet from rigorous evaluative research, as we noted in an essay: Game Theory & Criminal Reformation from the Spring 2012 Lampstand Foundation Newsletter to our membership:
“In the initial roll-out of this type of effort in Boston, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Stockton, New Haven, and Portland, some significant results were scored, some seeing murder rates dropping 60% or more.
“But then, as Kennedy (2011) writes:
“They were all falling apart.
“Not literally all of them. Some were healthy, even thriving. But in some of our best cities, the work was dead or dying. Minneapolis was done. Anthony and I had turned things over to PERF and the city, and within a couple of years it was as if it had never happened. [In] Indianapolis…things were unraveling there; it too would essentially go away altogether. Stockton would soon follow; Operation Peacekeeper was healthy, and effective, until a new gang commander discontinued the call-ins and the interagency meetings. The SACSI interventions dissolved in New Haven and Portland. In all of them, the killing went back up.
“Worst of all, Ceasefire was dead in Boston…In 1998 there were fifteen youth homicides in Boston; in 1999, there were fifteen. In 2000, there were twenty-six. Overall homicide had continued to fall under Ceasefire, down to thirty-one in 1999; it went to forty in 2000, more than doubled to sixty-eight in 2001…The killing would soon be at almost pre-Ceasefire levels.”
(Kennedy, D. M. (2011). Don’t shoot: One man, a street fellowship, and the end of violence in inner-city America. New York: Bloomsbury. (pp. 122-123)
“Wikipedia (2012) validates this and notes that the Boston Ceasefire is the paradigm of all of the other programs:
“Violence was particularly concentrated in poor inner-city neighborhoods including Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan. There were 22 youths (under age 24) killed in Boston in 1987, with that figure rising to 73 in 1990. Operation Ceasefire entailed a problem-oriented policing approach, and focused on specific places that were crime hot spots. Focus was placed on two elements of the gun violence problem, including illicit gun traffickingand gang violence.
“Within two years of implementing Operation Ceasefire in Boston, the number of youth homicides dropped to ten, with one handgun-related youth homicide occurring in 1999 and 2000. Youth homicides later climbed again with 37 in 2005 and reaching a peak of 52 in 2010.”…
Retrieved February 15, 2012 from Wikipedia.
Another excerpt from the same Lampstand newsletter
“Getting an entire city aligned to deal with gangs will obviously result in some success, but as Kennedy’s book makes clear, that can never be the single focus of any city for long as other priorities and personalities intrude and the focus fragments.
“Consequently, these programs seem to work pretty well, for a time, especially for younger criminals who come to the initial meetings accompanied by parents and families, but the impact on older criminals, who largely do not attend but who will hear about it, the result may be they’ll improve their criminal strategies knowing—now for certain—that they are being watched.
“The results of the type of intervention both books recommend is revealed through the recent meta-evaluation of focused deterrence by Braga & Weisburg (2011), which concluded:
“Our meta-analysis suggests that focused deterrence strategies are associated with an overall statistically significant, medium-sized crime reduction effect. However, the strongest program effect sizes were generated by evaluations that used the weakest research designs. Conclusion. The authors conclude that this approach seems very promising in reducing crime but a more rigorous body of evaluation research needs to be developed. While the results of this review are very supportive of deterrence principles, the authors believe that other complementary crime control mechanisms are at work in the focused deterrence strategies described here that need to be highlighted and better understood.”
(Braga, A. A. & Weisburg, D. L. (2011 September).The effects of focused deterrence strategies on crime: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the empirical evidence. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. (pp. 1-36) (p. 2) Lampstand Foundation Newsletter Spring 2012 (pp. 3-5)