CSP is seeking to replicate evidence based strategies that have proven effective in reducing violence. One such programme is Chicago’s CureViolence (formerly known as CeaseFire) which is credited with significantly reducing shootings and homicides in targeted communities in Chicago. CureViolence, which employs a public health approach, works to interrupt the cycle of violence and to change norms about behavior. This is achieved through its five core components: street outreach to at risk youth, public education, faith leader involvement, community mobilisation and collaboration with law enforcement.
Toward this end, CSP has contracted The Anatol Institute of Research and Social Sciences (TAIRASS) to adapt and implement this 3-year programme in East Port of Spain, Trinidad.
How does it work?
The Cure Violence Model is a public health approach to violence prevention that understands violence as a learned behaviour that can be prevented using disease control methods. The model prevents violence through a three-prong approach:
A study by the National Institute of Justice (Skogan et al., 2008) over a three year period concluded that the Chicago CeaseFire intervention was effective because it.
Decreased shootings and killings (41-73% drop in shootings and killings in CeaseFire zones; 16-35% drop in shootings directly attributable to CeaseFire).
Decreased retaliatory murders (100% reduction in retaliation murders in five of eight neighborhoods).
Made shooting "hot spots" cooler (in every program area there was a substantial decline in the median density of shootings following the introduction of CeaseFire).
Effectively helped highest-risk youth (85-99% of high-risk clients needing help received help from CeaseFire; clients received help in getting jobs, education, drug treatment and more; 99% of clients reported that CeaseFire had a positive effect on their lives).
Made neighborhoods safer (a positive effect on neighborhood safety was shown in every community studied).
Furthermore, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2012) conducted an evaluation of the Safe Streets programme in Baltimore which replicated Chicago’s CeaseFire. They examined, inter alia, the effects of the program on homicides and nonfatal shootings as well as community attitudes toward gun violence. The study concluded that the Safe Streets programme was associated with 5.4 fewer homicide incidents and 34.6 fewer nonfatal shooting incidents during 112 cumulative months of intervention post observations. Moreover, among youth surveyed, youth in intervention communities were less likely than youth in other neighborhoods to believe that it was okay to use a gun to resolve disputes. In addition, outreach services which connected young people to various services were found to be protective against involvement in violence.
A feasibility study conducted in 2011 (Decker et. al, 2011) confirmed the viability of implementing the model in the most violent urban communities in Trinidad. This conclusion was largely based on the access to data to monitor the programme, assets in the form of credible local organizations and the compatibility with the existing structure of the Citizen Security Programme. Particularly, CSP’s current decentralized, community based approach the delivery of critical violence prevention services.
This programme, once effectively implemented, should result in a reduction in the levels of firearm related violence in East Port of Spain, Trinidad.
For more information on the Cure Violence program, please visit: http://www.cureviolence.org/
The Cure Violence project, known as Project REASON, commenced in November 2014 in East Port of Spain and is being implemented by The Anatol Institute for Research and Social Sciences. For more information on Project Reason, please call lead consultant, Marlon Anatol at 1-868-798-4405.