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Prevention Works

Violence is Preventable

  • “Preventing Violence: A Primer”, Prevention Institute, October 2009
    • Key finding: “Prevention programs and strategies have a demonstrated track record in reducing violence.”

Preventing Gun Violence

  • “The Case for Violence Interruption Programs as an Alternative to Policing”, The Justice Collaborative Institute, June 2020
    • Key finding: “In cities and neighborhoods across the country, [violence interruption] programs have consistently proven to effectively and efficiently reduce gun violence while also helping people to build healthier, more stable lives.”
    • Also includes data from a national poll showing strong bipartisan support for violence interruption programs.

Investing in Community Services & Nonprofits Makes Communities Safer

  • Community and the Crime Decline: The Causal Effect of Local Nonprofits on Violent Crime. American sociological review. 2017. 
    • Key finding: “Drawing on a panel of 264 cities spanning more than 20 years, we estimate that every 10 additional organizations focusing on crime and community life in a city with 100,000 residents leads to a 9 percent reduction in the murder rate, a 6 percent reduction in the violent crime rate, and a 4 percent reduction in the property crime rate.”

Access to Affordable Housing Reduces Crime and Recidivism

  • “Can Housing Interventions Reduce Incarceration and Recidivism?”, Housing Matters, an Urban Institute Initiative, February 2019
    • Summary: highlights research that shows that housing stability reduces recorded offenses, but how people exiting the carceral system are 10 times more likely than the general public to become homeless. When people cannot find stable housing, they are more likely to commit new crimes. Also highlights a Housing First model in Wisconsin showing success.

Access to Health Care Reduces Crime and Recidivism

Offering Drug Treatment Programs Reduces Crime and Saves Money

  • “Substance Abuse Treatment and Public Safety”, Justice Policy Institute, January 2008
    • Summary: “Increased investments in drug treatment can yield benefits in public safety, cost savings, and improved lives for individuals. Drug treatment can help people return to employment, education or to become involved in other social activities that build communities and promote public safety… Research cited in this policy brief has shown that the initiation of drug treatment prior to involvement with the criminal justice system is the most beneficial and effective means of delivering services to drug-involved people.”
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers and Local Crime. National Bureau of Economic Research. 2016.
    • Key finding: “Substance-abuse-treatment facilities reduce both violent and financially motivated crimes in an area, and that the effects are particularly pronounced for relatively serious crimes.”

Access to Mental Health Treatment Prevents Crime

  • “Treating Mental Illness Prevents Crime and Saves Us Money”, Pacific Standard, June 2013
    • Summary: highlights findings from a North Carolina State University study, which found “treatment of mental illness can reduce overall arrests and save taxpayers money. Among people with these types of diagnoses, whatever the risk of criminal behavior is, it can be reduced with timely medication and therapy.”

Building Community Resilience Increases Safety

Child & Youth Programs Make Communities Safer

Access to Good Jobs Prevents Crime

  • Employment and Crime.
    • Key finding: “More than two dozen empirical studies among a variety of adult and young adult populations consistently confirm that labor market success in the form of employment, high wages, job stability, and occupational prestige are correlated with reduced criminal involvement (Crutchfield & Pitchford, 1997; Farrington, Gallagher, Morley, St. Ledger, &West, 1986; Good, Pirog-Good, & Sickles, 1986; Grogger, 1998; Hagan & McCarthy, 1997; Horney, Osgood, & Marshall, 1995; Laub & Sampson 2003; Sampson & Laub, 1993; Thornberry & Christenson, 1984; Uggen, 1999, 2000).”
  • Summer jobs reduce violence among disadvantaged youth. Science. 2014. 
    • Key finding: “In a randomized controlled trial among 1634 disadvantaged high school youth in Chicago, assignment to a summer jobs program decreases violence by 43% over 16 months (3.95 fewer violent-crime arrests per 100 youth). The decline occurs largely after the 8-week intervention ends. The results suggest the promise of using low-cost, well-targeted programs to generate meaningful behavioral change, even with a problem as complex as youth violence.”

“Can Jobs Deter Crime?”, The Atlantic, June 2015