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Evaluation of the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV)
October 20, 2010
Prepared by:
Robin S. Engel, Ph.D.
University of Cincinnati
Nicholas Corsaro, Ph.D.
Southern Illinois University
Marie Skubak Tillyer, Ph.D.
University of Texas at San Antonio
*This research was supported by funding from the City of Cincinnati and the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice
Services (OCJS). Data and other informational materials were provided by partnering agencies of the Cincinnati
Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV), including the Cincinnati Police Department, Cincinnati Works, Talbert
House, Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, and the Community-Police Partnering Center. The description and
findings presented within this report are from the authors, and do not necessarily represent the official positions of
employees of the City of Cincinnati, Office of Criminal Justice Services, or any CIRV partnering agencies. Please
direct all correspondence regarding this report to Robin S. Engel, Ph.D., Director, University of Cincinnati Policing
Institute, School of Criminal Justice, University of Cincinnati, P.O. Box 210389, Cincinnati, OH 45221, email:
INTRODUCTION......................................................................................................................... 2
Organizational Structure ............................................................................................................. 4
CIRV STRATEGY TEAMS ........................................................................................................ 6
Increasing the Risks and Costs of Involvement in Violence ...................................................... 7
Offender Notification Meetings (Call-in Sessions) ................................................................ 8
Probation Meetings ................................................................................................................. 9
Community Conversations...................................................................................................... 9
Prison Call-in Sessions ......................................................................................................... 10
Law Enforcement Home/Street/Jail Visits ............................................................................ 11
Group Enforcement ............................................................................................................... 13
Providing Alternatives to Violence ........................................................................................... 14
Social Services ...................................................................................................................... 15
Direct Outreach ..................................................................................................................... 16
Violence Interruption ............................................................................................................ 17
Changing Community Norms Regarding Violence .................................................................. 18
Community Asset Inventory ................................................................................................. 20
Community Outreach Activities ........................................................................................... 21
Sustainability............................................................................................................................. 23
EVALUATION ........................................................................................................................... 24
Analytic Framework ................................................................................................................. 25
Data ........................................................................................................................................... 25
Variables ................................................................................................................................... 26
Bivariate Analyses .................................................................................................................... 27
Multivariate Analyses ............................................................................................................... 31
SUMMARY ................................................................................................................................. 36
From 1991 to 2000, Cincinnati averaged 41.3 homicides per year, a relatively low per
capita rate compared to other large Ohio and regional cities. From 2001 to 2006, however, the
city averaged 73.3 homicides per year, representing a 300% increase in homicides and
culminating in a modern-day high of 89 homicides in 2006 (Engel et al., 2008). Through
systematic research with front-line law enforcement officers, a vivid picture of a hyperactive
offender population in Cincinnati was revealed: Approximately 0.3% of the city’s population,
with prior records averaging 35 charges apiece, were members of violent groups in 2007.
Further analyses revealed that these violent groups were associated with three-quarters of the
city’s homicides during a one year period (Engel et al., 2009). Historically, there have been very
few highly organized, intergenerational gangs with national affiliations in Cincinnati. Rather,
the violent crime problem in Cincinnati is associated with loosely-knit social networks of
individuals that hang together on the street and promote violence as a means of handling conflict
(Engel et al., 2008; Engel and Dunham, 2009). These are the type of episodic groups and gangs
that are typical in most mid-sized urban centers, and are quickly spreading to suburban and rural
areas (Howell, 2007).
This report provides a brief overview of the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence
(CIRV), and an empirical evaluation of its impact on group/gang-related violence in Cincinnati.
This evaluation provides an overall assessment, and relies on quantitative data provided by the
Cincinnati Police Department (CPD), Community Police Partnering Center (CPPC), Cincinnati
Human Relations Commission (CHRC), Talbert House, and Cincinnati Works. The research
presented in this report provides an initial evaluation of the initiative as a whole. Previous
reports (Engel et al. 2008, 2009) more thoroughly document the detailed processes of the
initiative, while future reports will examine the individual contributions of various strategies in
more depth. The initial findings documented within this report demonstrate a statistically
significant 35% reduction in group/gang-related homicides, and a 21.3% decline in fatal and
non-fatal shootings in Cincinnati that corresponds directly with the implementation of CIRV.
In response to Cincinnati’s increase in violence, in April 2007 the city’s political
leadership partnered with law enforcement officials, academics, medical professionals, street
advocates, and community and business leaders, to form the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce
Violence (CIRV, pronounced “serve”). CIRV is loosely modeled on the Boston Gun Project
from the mid-1990s and utilizes a “pulling levers” strategy to directly communicate
consequences for violence to at-risk gang members (Braga et al., 2001). The Boston project and
similar strategies rely on delivering messages of specific deterrence to those who generate and
sustain a culture of violence (e.g., Chermak & McGarrell, 2004; Papachristos, Meares, & Fagan,
2007; Skogan, Harnett, Bump, & Dubois, 2009). Using focused deterrence approaches, several
cities have reported significant reductions in gun-related violence (e.g., Braga, Kennedy, Waring,
& Piehl, 2001a, Braga, Kennedy, Piehl, & Waring, 2001b, Braga et al., 2006; Chermak &
McGarrell, 2004; McGarrell, Chermak, Wilson, & Corsaro, 2006). Often, however, many of
these reductions in violence have not been sustained over time (Kennedy, 2007). To reduce gun-
violence long-term, the CIRV Team has sought to systematically identify highly active and
chronic violent offenders, target these individuals and their associated groups for intervention,
and develop a system for sustainability.
To counter the dramatic increase in gun violence experienced in Cincinnati from 2001 to
2006, the CIRV approach provides laser-focused precision for law enforcement consequences for
violence, along with social service opportunities and community engagement. For the first time,
all sectors of the Cincinnati community police, community activists, political figures, civil
rights activists, ex-offenders, parents of murdered children, social service providers, medical
personnel, and business, civic and religious leaders agreed to stand on common ground in
approaching these violent offenders. In face-to-face offender notification meetings, members of
violent groups were told that the violence must stop, that there would be group consequences if it
did not, and that the community would support these consequences. Violent group/gang
members were told that there was social service help for all who wanted it; and that CIRV Street
Advocates would be assigned to help them navigate the specially developed social
service/employment program.
Organizational Structure
The objective of CIRV is clearly focused on the reduction of violence (particularly gun
violence) perpetrated by group/gang members. The overall initiative’s goals across a five-year
period include: 1) reduction of group/gang related homicides by 40%; 2) average of less than two
group/gang member involved homicides per month and continual reductions over time; and 3)
30% reduction in fatal and nonfatal shootings. The CIRV effort was organizationally designed
to effectively and efficiently meet these goals. Figure 1 displays CIRV’s organizational structure
and the individuals who currently serve in various positions within the initiative.
Figure 1. CIRV Organizational Structure
(Strategy 1)
Engagement Team
(Strategy 3)
(Strategy 2)
LtC James Whalen, CPD
LtC Vincent Demasi, CPD
Chief Thomas H. Streicher , Jr.. CPD
Herbert Brown , Western & Southern Financial
Gary Dowdell, P&G
Thomas Berghausen, Talbert House
Doreen Cudnik, CPPC
Stan Ross, CHRC
Mayor Mark Mallory
Councilman Cecil Thomas
City Manager Milton Dohoney
(Strategy 4)
Dr. Robin Engel, UC
LtC James Whalen, CPD
Role: Overall responsibility and
key barrier busting
Role: Develop/deploy strategy;
Get resources; Monitor results;
Enable key decisions
Role: Develop/Execute the action plan for the strategy
Executive Director: S. Gregory Baker , CPD
Law Enforcement
The CIRV organizational structure consists of a Governing Board, a
Strategy/Implementation Team, and four Strategy Teams law enforcement, services,
community, and systems. The Governing Board, which is comprised of high ranking city
officials, is responsible for providing resources to the initiative, as well as overcoming barriers
that impede success. The Strategy/Implementation Team is tasked with the daily operations of
CIRV, including making key decisions, developing program strategies, securing resources, and
continuously monitoring results. The Strategy/Implementation Team reports to the Governing
Board on a regular basis to provide progress updates and request resources as needed. The
Strategy/Implementation Team is comprised of two co-chairs, who serve as the primary
spokespersons of the initiative, the owners of each individual strategy, expert consultants, and
the Executive Director. Finally, the CIRV Strategy Teams are responsible for executing a
particular element of the overall initiative. The following section describes the strategy teams
and their activities.
The objectives of the Law Enforcement (LE) Team are to identify, notify, and focus law
enforcement efforts on violent groups that engage in gun violence through the development and
utilization of a comprehensive law enforcement partnership. Comprised of multiple law
enforcement agencies,1 this team is committed to organizing and sharing information to
comprehensively respond to group-related gun violence. The Services Team is responsible for
forming and continually improving a life-change system that engages members of violence-
prone groups and moves them to an employment-based lifestyle. This team includes
representatives from the Talbert House, Cincinnati Works, and the Cincinnati Human Relations
Commission (CHRC).
The Community Engagement Team is tasked with forming a partnership to work with
affected communities to articulate norms and expectations that explicitly reject violence. Key
members of this team include staff from the Community Police Partnering Center (CPPC),
CHRC, and faith-based leaders. Finally, the Systems Team is responsible for developing and
implementing a system that ensures permanence and quality assurance, and is lead by researchers
from the University of Cincinnati. Collectively, these teams are responsible for the following
four operational goals of CIRV: 1) Increasing the perceived risks and costs of involvement in
violence; 2) providing alternatives to violence; 3) changing community norms regarding
1 LE Team members include: Cincinnati Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Hamilton County
Adult Probation, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and supported by the Ohio State Attorney General’s Office
and the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services
violence; and 4) sustaining reductions in violence over time. The sections below document the
specific activities of the various CIRV teams to meet these operational goals.
Increasing the Risks and Costs of Involvement in Violence
The CIRV Law Enforcement (LE) Team (Strategy 1) is heavily involved in the effort to
increase the perceived risks and costs of involvement in violence. The first task for this team was
to identify those individuals most at risk as perpetrators and/or victims of gun violence. Since
May 2007, six official CIRV Law Enforcement Team gang intelligence gathering sessions have
been conducted, resulting in 2,103 individuals ever identified as members of violent groups
within the city of Cincinnati. Data available for July 2010 includes 1,517 violent group
members, as some individuals are removed from the CIRV LE Team “active” list due to: 1)
death; 2) long-term incarceration; 3) relocation to another jurisdiction; and/or 4) ceased
involvement with violent group members. Again, this membership represents less than half of
one percent of the total population of the city of Cincinnati. The social relationships across the
groups were graphically displayed for each data collection period and returned to the CIRV LE
Team. These network analyses demonstrate where violent groups have on-going feuds,
alliances, volatile relations (not currently feuding but have fought in the past), or no known
relationship. In addition, displays of both the social relationships across the groups and their
corresponding geographic location were distributed to the CIRV LE Team. For confidentiality
purposes, these documents are not contained within this report.
As of July 2010, there were 47 active violent groups/gangs in Cincinnati, with 1,579
known members. These violent group/gang members ranged in age from 11 to 67, with an
average age of 26.2; they ranged in the number of identified participants from 3 to 172 with an
average of 35 group members. In Cincinnati, there are few known stand-alone juvenile gangs;
rather the majority of violent groups in the city have both juvenile and adult members (Engel and
Dunham, 2009); law enforcement officials believe that the adult members are able to exert
pressure / influence over the younger members (also see Braga et al., 2008). A homicide review
demonstrated that the overwhelming majority of victims were Black (76%), male (81%), and
killed by firearms (82%), (Engel et al., 2008). Importantly, from June 2006 to June 2007, nearly
three-quarters (74%) of the homicides involved victims and/or suspects that were associated with
violent groups (Engel et al., 2008). Using detailed statistical analyses, geographic mapping, and
social network analyses, the group/gang population most at risk to be victims and/or suspects in
gun-related violence is routinely tracked and shared monthly with law enforcement, CIRV Street
Advocates, community engagement specialists, and social service providers to assist in the
strategic deployment of dwindling resources.
Offender Notification Meetings (Call-in Sessions)
Focused deterrence approaches typically use offender notification meetings as the central
mechanism (and in some cases, the sole method) to communicate with the target population of
violent group/gang members and demonstrate the risks and costs of involvement with violence
(e.g., Braga et al., 2001; Kennedy & Braga, 1998; Papachristos et al., 2007; Braga et al., 2008).
Specifically, the success of focused deterrence initiatives rests on the relentless communication
and delivery of the promises made during these meetings. Offender notification or “call-in
sessions are repeated as necessary to demonstrate the delivery on promises and reiterate the
message of nonviolence to the target population.
Of the identified group/gang members in Cincinnati, approximately 20% are under court-
ordered probation or parole at any given time, and can be ordered to attend CIRV offender
notification meetings. From July 2007 through July 2010, there have been 20 call-in sessions
with 488 violent group members; 40.4% of these offenders attended multiple sessions. These
sessions ranged in size from 17 participants to 98, with an average of 38 per session. Of the
known 1,517 identified group/gang members as of July 2010, 32.2% have attended at least one
call-in session. Further, 41 of the current 48 identified violent groups/gangs had at least one
member attend a call-in session. Group/gang members are told at these meetings to share the
message with their peers, but it is unknown if the approximately 68% of violent group/gang
members who have not attended these “call-ins” are aware of the CIRV message. For a more
thorough description of the CIRV call-in sessions, see Engel et al., 2008; 2009.
Probation Meetings
Beginning in December 2009, smaller offender notification meetings were conducted
with selected probationers. These meetings were designed to be less formal in nature, and
provided an opportunity for probationers to ask questions and interact with law enforcement
officials and CIRV Street Advocates. From December 2009 through July 2010, four meetings
were conducted with 45 probationers, ranging from 9 to 13 participants at each session. These
meetings differed in both the size (smaller) and tone (less formal) compared to the traditional
call-in sessions. The meetings included brief presentations by law enforcement officials and
CIRV Street Advocates (community members did not participate), followed by an opportunity
for probationers to ask questions and engage with the presenters.
Community Conversations
The CIRV team has enhanced communication techniques with chronic violent offenders
(and neighborhood youths influenced by older offenders) by conducting voluntary “community
conversations” with the target population and their influentials.” Pilot tested on two occasions
in 2009, these meetings represent a shorter, less formal version of the traditional courthouse call-
in session, with a stronger emphasis on community involvement, including a dialogue and
information sharing. The session is voluntary because supervisees are not ordered to attend as a
condition of their court-ordered supervision; rather, the Street Advocates identify and invite any
individuals in the community they believe would benefit from hearing the CIRV message,
including violent group members, along with their families and other influentials. Initial
feedback from the pilot test demonstrates CIRV Street Advocates’ ability to recruit the target
population to attend these meetings.
Prison Call-in Sessions
The criminal justice system has historically struggled with transitioning prisoners back
into the community. Issues with recidivism, community reintegration, and employment continue
to be problematic outcomes (Petersilia, 2004). Seiter and Kadela (2003) reported in their
evaluation of several different types of prisoner reentry programs that vocational/work programs,
drug rehabilitation programs, and halfway house programs were successful at reducing
recidivism; yet more recent research suggests that reentry programs that involve the community
as an integral part of reintegration may be more successful at transitioning prisoners back into
the community (Roman, Wolff, Correa, & Buck, 2007).
An average of 26,915 offenders per year has been incarcerated in Ohio prisons in the past
five years, with an average sentence length of 2.2 years. Of these offenders, 9.2% indicate their
home address to be within the City of Cincinnati. Of the approximately 2,430 offenders from
Cincinnati who enter or exit Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction prisons each
year, 19% were convicted of a violent crime. Based on national averages, 29% of these
offenders will recidivate within six months of release, and 67% will recidivate within three years
(Langan & Levin, 2002).
The CIRV team has also conducted offender notification meetings in prison and jail
settings, with offenders scheduled to be released back to Cincinnati neighborhoods within six
months. This technique has been successfully pilot tested in two local correctional facilities
River City Correctional Center and Lebanon Correctional Institution. In October 2009, four call-
in sessions were conducted with 160 prisoners within these correctional facilities. The number
of prisoners attending these ranged from 14 to 63.
Law Enforcement Home/Street/Jail Visits
Finally, “home visits” are a collaborative enhanced supervision program modeled loosely
after Boston’s Operation Night Light, which led to a reduction in homicides in the mid-1990s
and partnered law enforcement with correctional agencies (Jordan, 1998; Reichert, 2002). This
and other similar enhanced supervision strategies implemented across the country have led to
crime reductions and enhanced service delivery to target populations (NIJ, 1999; Reichert,
2002). The CPD home visits strategy is a multi-agency collaborative effort that partners the
CPD with Hamilton County Adult Probation, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, and the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to deliver the anti-violence message to specifically
identified high-risk violent group/gang members under court-mandated supervision.
In order to determine which violent group members would receive home visits, the CIRV
Law Enforcement Team assessed the violence levels within the city and identified current “hot”
spots with the greatest percentage of gun-related violence. The violent groups/gangs associated
with these geographic areas were then targeted for home visits. The specific members of the
groups/gangs to receive home visits were determined by the operational CIRV LE Team
command based on input from knowledgeable beat officers, Vortex officers, and Probation and
Parole officials regarding the current “impact” players that were likely driving the violence in the
associated areas. Specifically, the violent group members selected for home visits met the
following criteria: 1) members of known violent groups/gangs in Cincinnati; 2) currently under
supervision through the Hamilton County Probation Department or the Ohio Adult Parole
Authority; and 3) believed to be “impact players” within their groups, related to chronic patterns
of crime and violence. During these meetings, supervisees are reminded of the CIRV “message”
that law enforcement is focusing on violent groups and that he/she has been identified as a
member of such a group; social services are available if they need assistance; and the community
is demanding an end to the violence. The home visits are designed to be a narrowly focused,
short-term deterrent. The home visit strategy was first used in August 2008. As of July 2010,
182 offenders and/or their family members were successfully contacted and informed of the
CIRV message.
The CPD also uses innovative approaches in an effort to circumvent the issues with
unknown or incorrect home addresses (see Engel et al., 2009). Both CPD and probation/ parole
intelligence indicates that members of the target population spend a majority of time away from
their “on-file” home addresses. Additional data gathered from street-level patrol and
probation/parole officers during on-going CIRV group data collection sessions also provides
support by identifying violent group members’ primary street “hangout” locations and current
incarceration status in the local jail. Expanding the official “visits” to these locations provided a
key innovation to the existing strategy and effectively expanded the non-violent message
dissemination. For jail visits, known group/gang members in jail receive visits from CIRV-
trained members of the LE team (CPD, probation/parole, and ATF) and are given a specific,
individual focused deterrence message of non-violence. Street visits are conducted in
conjunction with the home visits. Those individuals who are not contacted at their home address
are then approached at their known street hangout location; other gang members hanging on the
street during this time are also delivered similar warning messages.
Group Enforcement
The deterrent success of CIRV relies on the CIRV team following through on the
promises made during each of the methods of notification. The Law Enforcement Team
promises to bring the full legal force of law enforcement upon groups that engage in gun
violence, especially those groups connected to homicides.
From July 2007 to July 2010, a total of 35 groups/gangs have received increased law
enforcement action based on the CIRV law enforcement response to a homicide and/or gun
violence within the city of Cincinnati, culminating in 201 group members arrested for various
felony and misdemeanor charges, along with 17 individuals indicted on federal charges.
Additional group enforcement efforts are on-going. The results of law enforcement action
between call-in sessions are detailed at subsequent call-in sessions to demonstrate the return on
promises by the Law Enforcement Team. As articulated at the call-in sessions, the Law
Enforcement Team pursues not only the shooters in these homicides, but also other group
members for any criminal activity in which they are engaged.
In addition to these focused group/gang arrests, CIRV identified group/gang members are
routinely arrested for other criminal activities that happen to come to the attention of law
enforcement (not as the result of a specific gang enforcement operation). From July 2007 to
July 2010, 1,771 identified group/gang members (73.8% of all group/gang members ever
identified) have been arrested for various felony and misdemeanor charges, totaling 6,913
separate arrests. These arrests include 1,777 felony arrests, constituting 10.0% of the citywide
total of felony arrests during this time period.
Providing Alternatives to Violence
The CIRV Services Team (Strategy 2) is designed to provide meaningful alternatives to
violence when gang members and high-risk individuals in the community are making behavior
decisions. The goals specific to this team include continually improving a life-change system that
successfully engages members of violence-prone groups and moves them to a gun violence-free,
pro-social, and eventually, employment-based lifestyle. Comprised of a lead social services
agency (Talbert House), employment agency (Cincinnati Works), and CIRV Street Advocates,
this team strives to provide immediate and tailored services to individuals choosing to leave the
life of violence. The Talbert House conducts intake and case management, while the Street
Advocates continually deliver the message of nonviolence. Serving as “life coaches,” these
advocates work one-on-one with individuals motivated to change and ensure they are accessing
and using the necessary resources.
Providing would-be offenderswith alternatives to violence has been an inherent
weakness of most violence-reduction focused deterrence approaches (Tillyer, Engel, & Lovins,
forthcoming). Despite system interventions, individuals are embedded within (or will eventually
return to) homes, schools, neighborhoods, and cities with systemic disadvantages that jeopardize
their ability to succeed. The available legitimate opportunities, coupled with structural
constraints within the broader social context, represent additional explanations for variation in
success both between and within focused deterrence initiatives. The CIRV Services Team
represents an important step for criminal justice system responses to violence that are part of
larger social reforms. Specific strategies proposed for providing alternative to violence include:
1) providing social services to violent offenders and at-risk youth that address their criminogenic
needs; 2) direct outreach, including coaching/mentoring of the target population; and 3) violence
interruption activities in target neighborhoods.
Social Services
The CIRV approach differs from other focused deterrence initiatives by developing
evidence-based service delivery and community engagement components. The CIRV Services
Team was recently restructured to deliver services effective in reducing future criminal behavior.
Four basic principles for effective intervention must be addressed risk, need, responsivity, and
fidelity (Andrews & Bonta, 1998; Gendreau, 1996). The risk principle refers to the risk of re-
offending. The need principle identifies those needs that are both dynamic and criminogenic
(correlated to criminal behavior); the four strongest criminogenic needs are antisocial attitudes,
peers, behavior, and personality. The responsivity principle is based on research demonstrating
that cognitive behavioral and structured social learning approaches are more effective at reducing
recidivism. The fidelity principle notes that programs must ensure effective implementation.
Based on these principles, CIRV developed a new service delivery process in July 2009.
To ensure adherence to the risk principle, valid risk assessment tools, including a composite risk
assessment (ORAS) and a violence screener (Violence Triage Tool), are utilized. To address the
needs principle, the focus was expanded beyond employment to include targeting antisocial
attitudes, peers, behaviors, and personality factors. The responsivity principle was met by
adopting a cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) model, which offers an opportunity to address
offenders’ antisocial attitudes while teaching new skills to effectively manage their environment.
The following steps address the fidelity of the model: 1) adoption of a validated risk instrument;
2) training of street advocates on core correctional practices; 3) monthly staff meetings to
monitor services delivered; 4) monitoring progress made by offenders; and 5) developing a
centralized data collection process to track offenders. Recent evidence suggests that programs
that serve very high risk offenders still can have an impact on recidivism (Dolan & Doyle, 2007).
Although many CIRV clients are serious violent offenders, a significant reduction in recidivism
can be achieved if the program adheres to the risk, need, responsivity, and fidelity principles.
Direct Outreach
In addition, direct outreach provided by CIRV Street Advocates has played an
integral role in CIRV. The CIRV team currently utilizes the services of 13 street advocates, one
manager, and one administrative assistant from CHRC (funded by the City of Cincinnati).
Modeled after Boston and Chicago Ceasefire outreach workers, CIRV Street Advocates serve
multiple purposes, including social work and violence intervention, and are selected based on
personal experience in low-income, high crime neighborhoods, and the criminal justice system.
Their experiences allow them to connect one-on-one with those at increased risk for violence
(Skogan et al., 2009). CIRV Advocates strive to provide immediate and tailored services to
individuals choosing to leave the life of violence, support for victims’ and offenders’ families,
and alternatives for high-risk youths. CIRV Advocates spend the majority of their time
interacting with individuals seeking assistance; client interactions include mentoring, coaching,
case management, and building relationships. They also conduct monthly support groups with
10-15 clients per session, with a focus on behavioral change.
From July 2007 through July 2010, the CIRV Street Advocates have been contacted for
services and assessed a total of 552 clients. Of these clients, 404 were referred to Cincinnati
Works, where 177 (43.8%) completed job readiness training, and 116 (28.7%) obtained their first
job. In August 2009, additional social services were provided for CIRV clients by the Talbert
House; 51 individuals are currently receiving services.
Violence Interruption
CIRV Street Advocate outreach activities also include violence interruption, mediation,
and spreading non-violence messages to the community. Similar to Chicago Ceasefire, violence
interruption tactics include CIRV Advocates deployed to violence hot spots and funerals to
assess gang-related conflicts and intervene prior to escalation. From January 2009 to July 2010,
CIRV Street Advocates documented 81 incidents where they believed that imminent violence
between two or more individuals had been disrupted through their intervention. Street
Advocates provide alternatives to violence by encouraging those about to engage in violent
behavior with suggestions for non-violent conflict resolution.
Several cities have reported an assortment of problems with street workers, including
high turnover, little traditional work experiences, difficulties in supervision and evaluation,
inadequate training, and unsystematic responses to conflict situations (Skogan et al., 2009;
Wilson, Chermak, & McGarrell, 2010). While the work of street advocates is critical for
violence reduction, it can also lead to devastating results if they are not properly selected,
trained, and held accountable for their activities. For example, an evaluation of One Vision in
Pittsburgh showed that the program had no effect on homicide rates and that the implementation
was actually associated with an increase in assaults and gun assaults (Wilson et al., 2010).
Further, Pittsburgh’s program evaluation indicated that street workers interacting with gang
members were not intervening in gang conflicts and were protecting specific gang-affiliated
individuals (Wilson et al., 2010).
In an effort to reduce the likelihood of these issues, the CIRV Street Advocates are
required to provide specific documentation regarding their activities (tracked through an
electronic database created in August 2009). This database includes instruments detailing
information regarding community outreach, violence interruption, community events, and
coaching/mentoring activities. The CIRV Advocates are City of Cincinnati employees with
multiple levels of oversight and procedures for disciplinary issues, including a field manager,
CHRC Director, and ultimately the City of Cincinnati Manager’s Office. CIRV Street
Advocates are specifically deployed to intervene in the exact geographic locations (and specific
gangs) in need of immediate intervention; this deployment strategy is coordinated directly by
CPD officials based on weekly crime analyses and quarterly gang social network analyses.
Changing Community Norms Regarding Violence
The CIRV Community Engagement (CE) Team (Strategy 3) is designed to change
community norms regarding violence. This team is based on the principles of Chicago Ceasefire,
including outreach and intervention with high-risk individuals; collaboration between criminal
justice agencies and personnel to identify and intervene with individuals at-risk for gun violence;
community mobilization to respond to shootings within 72 hours of all shooting incidents that
result in injury; public education to change attitudes and behaviors about gun violence; and faith-
based leadership to engage the community (Skogan et al., 2009). The objectives specific to the
CIRV CE Team include forming relationships with individuals and organizations in affected
communities to articulate norms and expectations; effectively delivering the “moral voice”
message that gun violence is not acceptable; and rejecting the norms and narratives of the street
that promote violence. Members of this team represent various interests and groups within the
community who reject violence and work toward rebuilding the community. This team is led by
CIRV Street Advocates and CPPC officials. Community influentials including parents,
grandparents, other relatives, coaches, mentors, religious leaders, former elected officials,
parents of murdered children, and ex-offenders assist in designing and carrying messages of
Utilizing similar components to Chicago Ceasefire, the CIRV CE Team aims to change
norms regarding violence. Specific tactics are utilized to increase collective efficacy by
empowering neighborhoods to mobilize and exert informal social control for sustained
reductions in gun violence (Sampson, Raudenbush, & Earls, 1997). The central component of
this multi-faceted plan is the delivery of the “moral voice of the community” messages that
bridges the outreach, education, and mobilization strategies. This message has three components:
1) challenging the street code; 2) “owning” the harm resulting from violence; and 3) creating a
“vision of uplift” (i.e., demonstrating a better way of life).
First, this moral voice message is designed to challenge the “street code,” an unstated set
of cultural beliefs and principles that are often adopted and reinforced by young, urban males
that include beliefs that it is okay to go to prison, death at an early age is unavoidable, respect is
the most important thing (and it must be obtained through violence), the police are racist, and
individuals have no choice but to follow the code of the streets (Anderson, 1999). The goal of the
CIRV CE Team is to undercut these beliefs and dispel the myths. With the assistance of those
who previously lived by this code, the CE Team strives to demonstrate there are viable
alternatives to violence and life on the street.
The CIRV CE Team also strives to encourage those in high-risk populations to “own the
harm” caused by their actions. This message is conveyed with the assistance of community
members that have experienced pain and/or loss as a result of gun violence, such as mothers and
families of gunshot victims, community religious leaders, and educators. The goal of the
“Owning the Harm” message is to show high-risk individuals the harmful results of their actions,
which include hurting innocent people, destroying families, teaching children that violence is
acceptable, and culturally and economically destroying communities.
Finally, the third component of the moral message is a “Vision of Uplift.” The CE Team
shows those at risk for violence that they can reduce the consequences of violence and help to
empower their community. With the assistance of community leaders, mostly faith-based, the
CE Team strives to demonstrate that these at-risk individuals are part of the community, and they
serve important roles in developing the community and a better life for themselves and others.
Community Asset Inventory
The primary role of the CIRV CE Team is to engage community members, agencies, and
faith-based partners who can act as credible influencers within neighborhoods most affected by
gun violence, and to articulate community norms and expectations that gun violence will not be
tolerated. To facilitate and coordinate community outreach, the CE Team has developed an
asset inventory” process that serves as a resource directory, which is a key component to
providing a coordinated response and involves the work of multiple community stakeholders.
This process consists of identifying existing resources within the community that could be assets
in combating violence. The CE Team focuses on the identification of individuals, associations,
institutions, and professional establishments within the community that could provide care for
the target population. Community resources focus on pre-violent incident intervention, while
professional resources are used to focus on post-violent incident intervention.
The asset inventory process was pilot tested in April 2009 in one Cincinnati
neighborhood (Avondale). The CE Team identified specific individuals, programs, and events
that could be used to intervene with at-risk youth and young adults within the targeted area. In
order to compile this inventory, participants assessed potential resources by asking: 1) What
individuals care for violence-prone youth and young adults? 2) What programs and facilities for
recreational, spiritual, mentoring, and employment skills and activities are available within this
community? 3) What individuals within the community can act as coaches, mentors, and/or
father figures for at-risk adolescents and young adults? Following this information-gathering
session, the identified assets and resources are compiled into a document for application.
Community Outreach Activities
The CE Team uses a variety of strategies to engage the community and deliver the moral
voice message, including: Community trainings, youth violence prevention programs, outreach
events, shooting responses, funeral and vigil events, and other community engagement activities.
The various events held from July 2007 to July 2010 are described in greater detail below.
Community Trainings include those events in which representatives from the CPPC
provided information on violence reduction strategies to neighborhood volunteers. Community
residents received training relevant to the missions of CIRV, along with materials and resources
to help combat crime and disorder in their neighborhoods. From July 2007 through July 2010,
the CPPC has documented 103 community training sessions with varying levels of attendance
ranging from 1 to 86, with an average of 22 individuals.
The Youth Violence Prevention Programs (YVPP) are workshops designed for at-risk
juveniles, generally aged 12-18 (though a few interventions corresponded with audiences aged
18-25). Community volunteers are trained with established curriculum that aims to decrease anti-
social attitudes and encourage positive relationships between youth and law enforcement. From
July 2007 to July 2010, 68 YVPP workshops have been held with attendance ranging from 1 to
58, with an average of 16 individuals.
Outreach Events include activities in which CIRV representatives canvas high-crime
neighborhoods in efforts to interrupt the norms surrounding violence. CHRC Street Advocates
target at-risk and present group members, presenting them with pro-social alternatives to their
lifestyle. From July 2007 to July 2010, 363 outreach events have been documented by CHRC
and CPPC officials.
Shooting Responses correspond to those times in which CIRV volunteers target
individuals, groups, and neighborhoods that have been recently affected by gun violence. It is
expected that this focused strategy will interrupt the cycle of retaliation found in many of these
crimes, and further empower communities members to take ownership of their neighborhoods.
The activities associated with shooting responses including community mobilization and
marches. During this three-year period, CPPC officials and CIRV Street Advocates reported
conducting 318 shooting responses.
Funeral and Vigil Attendance describes occurrences in which CIRV representatives
attend events that honor the life of someone lost to gun violence. The expectation is that by
providing evidence of the effects of group membership, offenders will be persuaded to eliminate
the violence from their interactions. CIRV Street Advocates provide victims’ family members
with comfort, emotional support, and opportunities to express their grief without engaging in
retaliatory violence. CIRV Street Advocates reported providing these services at 42
funerals/vigils during this three-year period.
CIRV Community Engagement Activities include those events that are specifically
branded with the messages of CIRV. These events aim to encourage community members to take
responsibility for the moral tone in their neighborhoods, demanding an end to gun violence. It is
expected that after attending a Community Engagement event, individuals will return to their
own neighborhoods with the CIRV message that violence is unacceptable. The types of
community engagement activities include neighborhood resource fairs, peace rallies, and block
parties. At each event, law enforcement is present in hopes of strengthening police-community
relations. From July 2007 to July 2010, 26 separate CIRV community engagement activities and
events have been documented by the CIRV Community Engagement Team.
The focused deterrence model demands a great deal of coordination both within and
between the law enforcement, services, and community partners to operate effectively and
efficiently. This intense level of cooperation has been demonstrated by the CIRV Team as it
enters its fourth year of partnership. Cincinnati’s political leadership has taken an active role in
CIRV and has demonstrated financial support and oversight. Ultimately, the goal is for the
CIRV process to become institutionalized as the manner in which Cincinnati responds to
group/gang violence. Researchers from the University of Cincinnati work with the Project
Manger and individual CIRV Team leaders to systematically collect data and provide routine
feedback. The CIRV initiative is data-driven, and strategies are modified as feedback is
provided to the teams regarding violence levels. Further, the CIRV Systems Team is responsible
for creating and updating the teams’ OGSM (Objectives, Goals, Strategies, and Measures),
balanced score cards, and action plans (see Engel et al., 2008; 2009).
CIRV was designed from the onset to become institutionalized, and has continued to
improve and evolve over time. CIRV created a robust operational structure complete with
corporate models employed for management, accountability, performance evaluation, and
improvement that is now considered the standard for focused deterrence approaches. For
example, CIRV is the model for six other Ohio cities funded through a partnership with the State
of Ohio, and has also received visits and inspired projects in London, England; Glasgow,
Scotland; and Adelaide, South Australia. Members of the CIRV team were awarded the
prestigious 2008 IACP / Motorola Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement; the 2009 IACP /
West Award for Excellence in Criminal Investigations; and the 2008 National Criminal Justice
Association’s Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award. Print and television coverage of
CIRV includes over 175 local, state, national, and international stories.
In addition, Cincinnati is one of ten “leadership groups” that provides guidance for the
National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC). The primary purpose of the NNSC is to
support jurisdictions around the country implementing focused deterrence crime reduction
strategies. These strategies have now been implemented in over 75 jurisdictions across the
country; nearly fifty jurisdictions have officially joined the NNSC. The CIRV team has produced
14 Best Practices Guides used by the State of Ohio and the NNSC to provide guidance for
jurisdictions implementing focused deterrence approaches. Cincinnati has hosted visitors from
over a dozen jurisdictions on-site, developed training materials used across the State of Ohio, and
participated in numerous national and international gatherings to disseminate CIRV-related
Historically, criminal justice policies have lacked accountability and effectiveness, with
most policies and programs being grounded in political ideology or untested assumptions.
Evaluation research, which “aims to improve society by examining social policies through the
use of various research methodologies,” is crucial to the development, monitoring, and
assessment of criminal justice policy (Mears, 2010, p. 36). Examining with methodological rigor
whether a policy has achieved its intended outcome is central to responsible policymaking.
Therefore, formal evaluation is necessary to determine: 1) if CIRV is associated with a reduction
in various indicators of violence; and 2) if we can conclude with a high degree of certainty that
this reduction should be attributed to CIRV activities and not other influences (e.g., seasonal
changes in crime trends). The analytic strategies employed below were designed to meet these
Analytic Framework
Ultimately, the goal of the CIRV team is to reduce group/gang member involved violence
across the city of Cincinnati. The current investigation is designed to test the potential impact of
the CIRV intervention on relevant crime outcomes by relying upon a time series analysis. It is
important to note that the interrupted time series design compares patterns of pre-intervention
responses with patterns of post-intervention responses across relevant outcomes (Cook &
Campbell, 1979). In addition, the regression models used in the subsequent time series analyses
are also designed to control for the potential influences of fluctuating crime trends as well as
seasonality in each time series (i.e., the changes in crime trends that are associated with specific
months during the calendar year).
The trend data used here include several types of criminal offenses reported to the
Cincinnati Police Department (CPD) over a six and a half year period for the city of Cincinnati.
Offense data were aggregated into a monthly format starting in January 1, 2004 through July 31,
2010, which equates to over three years of pre- and post-intervention data. Each month’s crime
measure was operationalized as a composite variable, running from its first through its last day,
of all offenses over this period.
Four specific outcome variables were modeled in the current analytic framework.
Homicides were operationalized as unique and fatal crime incidents where each victim was
included as a specific homicide count. Group/Gang Member Involved (GMI) homicides were
operationalized as unique and fatal crime incidents where the victim, suspect, and/or
circumstances surrounding the event indicated that group/gang members were involved.2
Alternatively, Non-GMI homicides were all homicide incidents that do not meet the GMI criteria
described above. Finally, total shootings were operationalized as the number of victims that
sustained fatal or non-fatal gunshot wounds during unique incidents.
Note that a measure of GMI shootings is not included in the analyses below. Given the
average number of shooting incidents per month, the CPD does not systematically record
whether or not these gun-related incidents are gang-related. Unfortunately, the research team has
been unable to retrospectively classify these shootings as gang-related with consistency and
2 Homicides are classified by CPD officials as Group/Gang Member Involved (GMI) based on the following criteria
and processes. First, the name of the victim and suspect (if known) are crosschecked with the official gang database
that is routinely updated by CPD officials. If either the victim or the suspect is a known group/gang member, the
homicide is coded as GMI. If the victim is not a known gang member and the suspect is unknown, the specific
circumstances of the incident itself are considered. CPD officials consider a totality of circumstances, which include:
the location of the offense; the suspected involvement of the victim in illicit acts preceding the homicide; the manner
and type of death; demographic characteristics of the victim; time of day; likely suspects; and other relevant
characteristics of the incident. If the totality of the circumstances suggests a possibility that a member of a
group/gang is involved in the incident, but the specific group/gang members involved remain unknown, the incident
is coded as a GMI until proven otherwise. For classifications of GMI where the suspect is initially not known but
later arrested, the case is again reviewed for proper GMI determination. These classification criteria were
consistently applied across the pre- and post-intervention periods. A single CPD commander is charged with making
the final GMI classification and has made all such determinations of cases examined in these analyses; therefore
there are no concerns regarding coder inter-rater reliability. Also note that domestic-related homicides that include
group/gang members are included as GMI incidents. The rationale behind such a classification is that, based on the
focused-deterrence approach, group/gang members are notified that their continued violence will result in law
enforcement action taken upon the entire group. Any homicides committed by the target audience (regardless of the
specific circumstances) are the subject of the CIRV Team’s efforts. Using this coding approach, the number of GMI
homicides is likely slightly overestimated, resulting in the most conservative test of CIRV’s possible impact on
reductions of group/gang involved violence.
validity. Therefore, a measure of all shooting victims is used as a proxy measure, based on the
assumption that similar to Cincinnati homicides, a majority of these shootings are gang-related.
We also incorporated an independent variable defined as the post-intervention period,
which we operationalized as July 2007 thereafter. This measure was created as a dummy
variable where months between January 2004 through June 2007 were defined as the pre-
intervention period (i.e., value = 0). Subsequently, July 2007 and all subsequent months through
July 2010 were operationalized as the post-intervention period (i.e., value = 1) because July 2007
was when the initial CIRV offender notification session occurred. More specifically, fifty-five
offenders were summoned to the initial notification session in July 2007. Although the CIRV
team officially started its organizational work in April 2007, July was the first month that
group/gang members were made aware that law enforcement consequences had changed; that
social services were readily available; and that community members would no longer tolerate
gun violence.
In order to account for potential trend influences, we added both a simple linear trend
variable (to account for linear trends) and a trend-squared variable (to account for curvilinear
trends), which were apparent in the bivariate graphs displayed in the results section.3 Similarly,
we included monthly dummy variables, using December as the reference month, to account for
seasonal effects (i.e., seasonal shocks) that occurred during specific periods of the year (mostly
in the late spring and early summer), which are also shown in the bivariate trend graphs.
Bivariate Analyses
As an initial step, we examined the average monthly percentage changes in the different
types of homicide as well as firearm related incidents. Table 1 indicates that many of the violent
3 The trend variable was created as a sequential time measure from the start to the end of the time series data (i.e.,
our data ran from January 2004 (1) to July 2010 (79). The trend-squared variable was simply the trend variable
squared (trend variable * trend variable) to account for potential quadratic changes in a given time series.
crime outcomes experienced substantive declines between the pre- and post-intervention period.
More specifically, the average number of homicides declined from 6.3 per month to 5.5 per
month. It is also apparent that this overall decline in homicide was likely driven by the specific
reduction in GMI related homicide events, which declined from 3.8 homicides per month to 2.9
per month during this same time frame. Conversely, non-GMI homicides actually experienced a
slight increase, again indicating that the driving force behind the overall decline in the number of
monthly homicides was specific to a change in GMI homicides. Finally, the total number of
shootings in the city experienced a modest reduction from 36.6 incidents per month to 34.3
incidents per month as well.
Table 1: Bivariate Percentage Change in Violent Crime Outcomes
Offense Type
Number of Offenses
Per Month
Number of Offenses
Per Month
GMI Homicides
Non-GMI Homicides
Total Shootings
Figure 1 displays the monthly number of homicides between January 2004 and July 2010. We
note that the break in the series corresponds with the July 2007 intervention date.
Figure 1: Trends in Homicide
Figure 2 similarly shows the monthly number of GMI related homicides, which again
declined by nearly one incident per month during this break in the time series.
Figure 2: Trends in GMI Related Homicides
Figure 3 displays the monthly number of Non-GMI homicides, which actually
experienced a very slight increase over the period examined here.
Figure 3: Trends in Non-GMI Related Homicides
We next display the monthly number of firearm related offenses that occurred within
Cincinnati between January 2004 and July 2010 (see Figure 4), which experienced a modest
decline after the initial July 2007 notification session.
Figure 4: Trends in Firearm Related Incidents
Multivariate Analyses
While the trend analyses are suggestive of potential program impact, it is important to
note that the bivariate percentage changes that have been displayed to this point represent simple
pre- and post-intervention reductions and thus do not control for prior trends in the data,
seasonality, and other confounding influences that are likely to create a regression toward the
mean in the relevant crime outcomes. As noted earlier, one of the most widely adopted statistical
procedures in econometrics and criminal justice used to determine the impact of programs and
public policies is time series analysis. As McCleary and Hay (1980, p. 141) note, “the widest
use of the time series design has clearly been in the area of legal impact assessment.
We utilized Generalized Linear Modeling count regression analysis to estimate the
impact of the CIRV intervention (see Long, 1997). Ordinal Least Squares (OLS) regression
models are inappropriate for analyzing count outcomes because count data do not approximate a
normal distribution and thus analysis from these models would lead to biased and inconsistent
estimates (King, 1988). Each outcome examined was estimated using a log-linear Poisson
distribution, unless the sample variance was significantly greater than the sample mean (i.e., an
overdispersed distribution) in which case negative binomial regression was used given its
additional parameter to account for the distribution of the variance independent from the mean
(Long, 1997; Long & Freese, 2003).4 Parameter estimates for each regression model were
subsequently expressed as incidence rate ratios (i.e., the change in the rate of an outcome based
on a unit change in an independent variable), which are simply calculated as the exponentiated
coefficients given the use of logarithmic transformation in GLM (Long & Freese, 2003).
Table 2 presents the impact assessment of the CIRV intervention strategy on homicides
while controlling for potential influences in the trend data. More specifically, the post-
intervention estimate can be interpreted as the mean change in homicides between the pre- and
post-intervention periods, centering on the date of the first call-in session in July 2007. After
controlling for monthly seasonality and linear as well as curvilinear trends in the data, homicides
experienced a decline of roughly 13.6 percent following the first notification session. However,
we note that the overall decline in homicides did not approach the social scientific standard of
statistical significance (i.e., p-value = 0.44). Thus, we are not able to assert with a high-degree
of confidence that the observed change in homicides was not simply due to chance.
4 We examined the goodness-of-fit statistics for each full regression and chose, where appropriate, negative binomial
regression models in place of Poisson models when the Chi-Square p-value statistics were statistically significant (p
< .05), which indicates statistically significant evidence of overdispersion (Long and Freese, 2003: 270). This type
of statistical model was specifically used when firearm related incidents were examined.
Table 2: Poisson Regression Results for Homicide Trends
Table 3 displays the impact of CIRV intervention strategy on GMI, or group-related,
homicides while controlling for potential influences in the trend data. Again, after controlling
for monthly seasonality and linear as well as curvilinear trends in the data, GMI homicides
experienced a decline of roughly 34.8 percent following the first notification session. In
addition, this type of homicide experienced a statistically significant decline (p < 0.10) after the
CIRV strategy was fully implemented. Thus, we are able to assert with a high degree of
confidence (90% confidence threshold) that this estimated change in the average number of
monthly gang homicides was not simply due to chance or a pre-existing pattern in the data.
Measure I.R.R. Coeff. St. Error
Intercept -- 1.510 0.238
Post-Intervention 0.864 -0.146 0.190
Trend 1.008 0.008 0.008
Trend Squared 0.999 -0.001 0.001
January 0.983 -0.017 0.255
February 0.961 -0.040 0.256
March 1.640** 0.491 0.230
April 1.099 0.094 0.248
May 1.157 0.146 0.245
June 1.423 0.353 0.249
July 1.660** 0.507 0.236
August 1.383 0.324 0.244
September 1.623** 0.484 0.234
October 1.242 0.217 0.236
November 0.829 -0.188 0.279
Model Statistics
Log Likelihood
LR Chi-Square Test (df)
* p < .10; ** p < .05.
26.14 (14)
Table 3: Poisson Regression Results for GMI Homicide Trends
Table 4 similarly displays the impact of CIRV on non-GMI homicides. Interestingly, this
specific type of homicide actually experienced an increase of roughly 34.6 percent, though we
note this change was not statistically significant (p = 0.32). There also were not consistent
patterns of seasonal effects in these other forms of non-GMI homicide during this period.
GMI Homicides
Measure I.R.R. Coeff. St. Error
Intercept -- 0.708 0.319
Post-Intervention 0.652* -0.427 0.248
Trend 1.027** 0.027 0.011
Trend Squared 0.999* -0.001 0.000
January 1.095 0.091 0.326
February 0.829 -0.187 0.348
March 1.545 0.435 0.304
April 1.331 0.286 0.312
May 1.069 0.067 0.321
June 1.266 0.236 0.315
July 1.696* 0.528 0.308
August 1.624 0.485 0.310
September 1.374 0.318 0.320
October 1.069 0.067 0.338
November 1.005 0.005 0.343
Model Statistics
Log Likelihood
LR Chi-Square Test (df)
* p < .10; ** p < .05.
22.01 (14)
Table 4: Poisson Regression Results for GMI Homicide Trends
Table 5 displays the estimated change in the total number of firearm related incidents in
Cincinnati. We found that the number of shootings declined by 21.3 percent, and that this
estimate was statistically significant (p < .05) even after controlling for prior trends in the series.
Also, we used negative binomial estimation since there was statistically significant evidence of
overdispersion (variance > mean) in this specific outcome. The likelihood ratio Chi-square
statistic was statistically significant, indicating the need to adjust the estimated model to better
control for the skewed nature of this outcome variable (see Long & Freese, 2003).
Non-GMI Homicides
Measure I.R.R. Coeff. St. Error
Intercept -- 0.985 0.362
Post-Intervention 1.346 0.297 0.299
Trend 0.982 -0.018 0.013
Trend Squared 1.000 0.000 0.000
January 0.824 -0.193 0.409
February 1.106 0.101 0.383
March 1.742 0.555 0.352
April 0.773 -0.258 0.418
May 1.271 0.240 0.374
June 1.639 0.494 0.358
July 1.611 0.477 0.366
August 1.055 0.054 0.401
September 1.962 0.674 0.354
October 1.481 0.393 0.372
November 0.580 -0.545 0.476
Model Statistics
Log Likelihood
LR Chi-Square Test (df)
* p < .10; ** p < .05.
24.42 (14)
Table 5: Negative Binomial Regression Results for Shooting Incidents
In this section, we briefly summarize the estimated effects of CIRV on the different types
of violent crime in Cincinnati between 2007 and 2010. We utilized July 2007 as the intervention
date because the CIRV notification sessions began during this month. As shown in Tables 1-4,
we found that the overall (but non-statistically significant) decline in all types of homicide was
likely driven by the significant decline in GMI homicides. Conversely, non-GMI homicides
went through a slight (though again non-significant) increase during this same period. Thus,
while fatally violent incidents involving actors that were not affiliated with the loosely structured
groups/gangs of high-risk offenders were slightly increasing during the period examined here,
GMI homicides experienced a significant (p < 0.10) decrease of 34.8% during this same time
Measure I.R.R. Coeff. St. Error
Intercept -- 3.320 0.128
Post-Intervention 0.787** -0.240 0.107
Trend 1.007 0.007 0.004
Trend Squared 0.999 -0.001 0.000
January 1.065 0.063 0.130
February 0.754** -0.283 0.136
March 1.110 0.104 0.129
April 1.255* 0.227 0.127
May 1.206 0.187 0.127
June 1.366** 0.312 0.125
July 1.501** 0.406 0.129
August 1.381** 0.323 0.130
September 1.140 0.131 0.133
October 1.201 0.183 0.132
November 0.938 -0.064 0.136
Model Statistics
Log Likelihood
LR Chi-Square Test (df)
* p < .10; ** p < .05.
40.75 (14)
frame. In addition, firearm related offenses (shown in Table 5) experienced a strong and
statistically significant decline (p < 0.05) of 21.3% after CIRV was implemented within the city.
In sum, our results indicate that the specific types of violence (i.e., GMI homicides and
firearm related incidents) that the CIRV strategy was designed to impact experienced reductions
that were unlikely due to random chance or because they followed patterns that were consistent
with prior trends in violence over time. Future research is necessary to discern whether specific
changes in relevant outcomes corresponded with different components of the CIRV strategy, and
whether those potential relationships were sustained (or short-lived) over time.
These future analyses will rely on longitudinal based panel models that will be designed
to capture whether specific components of the CIRV strategy (i.e., deterrence strategies, public
notification sessions, community outreach, and social service provisions) corresponded with
changes in the relevant crime outcome measures at specific points in time. More specifically,
researchers will attempt to model whether variables related to each of these conceptually-based
measures was significantly associated with the estimated decrease in the different violent crime
outcomes examined here (i.e., at the time of the specific strategies, or whether there was a
potential lag or delayed effect). Ultimately, future research will attempt to unravel the
processes of the CIRV intervention that may have influenced the change in GMI-homicides as
well as firearm related offenses. Given that the initial results in this report suggest that
something happened to reduce gang-related violence when the CIRV intervention occurred,
our ultimate goal is to better understand just what may have been the driving force behind the
estimated change in violent crime.
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... (Community Safety Officer Interview) Similar to Glasgow, Cincinnati had also experienced acute social problems, associated with de-industrialisation, which had left inner city areas suffering from social deprivation and rising crime levels, including gang/group violence (Stradling, 2003). The response developed by partner organisations -the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (which we refer to as 'CIRV' to avoid ambiguity) -attracted widespread academic and police interest (Engel et al., 2008(Engel et al., , 2010(Engel et al., , 2011, ultimately informing the creation of 'Glasgow CIRV', thus producing this case of policy transfer as discussed in the following sections. ...
... To this end, Cincinnati adopted the FDS developed in Boston in 1995 (Kennedy, 1997) and created a multi-agency team to focus on rival gangs/groups engaged in the drugs market, whose feuding often resulted in shootings and homicides. In Cincinnati, police intelligence and probation records provided lists of gang members who were required to engage with 'CIRV' by attending a series of 'Call-In' sessions held in a courtroom, where they listened to various messages delivered by law enforcement, community members and service providers (see Engel et al., 2008Engel et al., , 2010. The key message was that the violence had to stop and there was support available for those who wanted to change their lives by engaging with the initiative. ...
... The key message was that the violence had to stop and there was support available for those who wanted to change their lives by engaging with the initiative. 'CIRV' was praised for contributing to a 34% reduction in homicides in the city over the following 2 years (see Engel et al., 2010Engel et al., , 2011. Taking inspiration from the success of the Cincinnati initiative, 'Glasgow CIRV', in seeking to address its gang violence problems, initially sought to copy 'CIRV', although as previously mentioned, not all parties were initially convinced this was possible for various reasons: I was a bit concerned about how transferable some of it was into a Scottish context and whether or not they were going to try and straight lift the model or adapting it for context. ...
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Although there is growing interest in criminal justice policy transfer, a dearth of empirical research in this area has been acknowledged. This article addresses this gap by presenting the results of research conducted on a case of policy transfer of a criminal justice programme, focused on group/gang violence reduction, from America to Scotland. Policy transfer models were used to develop, frame and conduct the analysis of what was considered a ‘successful’ programme transfer; however, it was found that no single model could fully account conceptually for a key finding of the research, namely a policy transfer ‘backflow’. This article details the key processes, mechanisms and outcomes of the policy transfer and in doing so reflects on the usefulness of orthodox and non-orthodox/social-constructionist policy transfer approaches in understanding the outcomes of this case of criminal justice programme transfer.
... For these 131 abstracts, full-text reports, journal articles, and books were acquired then carefully assessed to determine whether the interventions involved focused deterrence strategies and whether the studies used randomized controlled trial designs or nonrandomized quasi-experimental designs (excluded studies are reported in Appendix D). Twenty-four eligible studies were identified and included in the updated review 1. Operation Ceasefire in Massachusetts (Braga et al., 2001) 2. Indianapolis Violence Reduction Partnership in Indianapolis, Indiana (McGarrell et al., 2006) 3. Operation Peacekeeper in Stockton, California (Braga, 2008b) 4. Project Safe Neighborhoods in Lowell, Massachusetts (Braga, Pierce, McDevitt, Bond, & Cronin, 2008) 5. Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence in Cincinnati, Ohio (Engel, Corsaro, & Tillyer, 2010) 6. Operation Ceasefire in Newark, New Jersey (Boyle, Lanterman, Pascarella, & Cheng, 2010) 7. Operation Ceasefire in Los Angeles, California (Tita, Riley, & Greenwood, 2003) 8. Operation Ceasefire in Rochester, New York (Delaney, 2006) 9. Project Safe Neighborhoods in Chicago, Illinois (Papachristos et al., 2007) 8 %20Data%20Collection%20Checklist.pdf. ...
... In response to a disturbing increase in homicides between 2001 and 2006, Cincinnati's political leadership partnered with law enforcement officials, academics, medical professionals, street advocates, and community and business leaders, to form the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV; Engel et al., 2010). Strategy development was assisted by Proctor and Gamble Co. in the hopes of strengthening institutionalization and sustainability (Engel, Tillyer, & Corsaro, 2013). ...
... Problem analyses suggested that violent street groups of active criminal offenders generated the bulk of homicides and shootings in Cincinnati; thus, members of criminally active street groups in Cincinnati were the target population for the pulling levers focused deterrence strategy. As described by Engel et al. (2010), Cincinnati implemented a group VRS that was modeled after the pulling levers focused deterrence strategy implemented in Boston and included law enforcement consequences for violence, along with social service opportunities and community engagement. In face-toface offender notification meetings, police, community activists, political figures, civil rights activists, ex-offenders, parents of murdered children, social service providers, medical personnel, and business, civic, and religious leaders told members of violent groups that the violence must stop, that there would be law enforcement consequences for the entire group if it did not, and that the community would support these consequences (Engel et al., 2010). ...
... To date, PSN strategies have relied on a single-item criterion (e.g., gang member, repeat violent offender; Boyle et al. 2010;McGarrell et al. 2006;Papachristos et al. 2007;Tita et al. 2004) or subjective determinations (e.g., gang audits, consultations ;Braga 2008;Braga et al. 2008;Braga et al. 2014;Corsaro and Engel 2015;Papachristos and Kirk 2015;Engel et al. 2010;Sierra-Arevalo et al. 2015) to identify the individuals to prioritize with their efforts. This study relies upon a new assessment composed of multifaceted evidence-based criteria to objectively identify prolific violent offenders. ...
... Another issue to consider is the heterogeneity in treatment effects across evaluations, given the considerable variability and subjectivity in the processes used to identify prolific offenders subject to intervention in PSN initiatives. For instance, many PSN and deterrence programs identified individuals to receive the treatment based upon "crime incident reviews" and "gang audits," which are subjective evaluations of future offending risk based upon police reports, street intelligence, and/or criminal associations via social networks (Braga 2008;Braga et al. 2014;Corsaro and Engel 2015;Engel et al. 2010;Papachristos and Kirk 2015;Sierra-Arevalo et al. 2015). Similarly, in Lowell, MA, the intervention targeted gangs and "impact players" believed to be most prone to engage in violence based upon police reports and intelligence . ...
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Research summary Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is an increasingly popular violence and gun crime prevention program which aims to identify prolific violent offenders, and deter or incapacitate them from offending. While PSN programs generally show moderate effects on violence and gun crime reduction, questions remain about the magnitude and duration of effects given the heterogeneity in treatment applications across PSN programs. This study presents a quasi-experimental evaluation of a cutting-edge PSN initiative on violence and gun crime in Tampa, Florida over a 6-year period. Results indicate that PSN was associated with a 24.4% raw reduction in violence (d = −0.16) and a 24.0% reduction in gun crime rates (d = −0.22) for the treatment agency, while the control groups saw much smaller decreases in violence and gun crime over the same time period. Policy implications There are several policy implications, as PSN is currently endorsed by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat violence and gun crime, with billions spent to support these programs across the nation. First, this study suggests that the use of an objective scoring criteria comprised a multi-faceted array of evidence-based risk factors to identify the prolific offenders subject to the PSN intervention yields a notable effect on violence and gun crime reduction and unlike other PSN initiatives, this program benefits from not being reliant on more subjective or sweeping approaches to identify potential prolific offenders. Second, this approach was associated with substantial decreases in violence and gun crime over the 3-year follow-up period, but importantly, total arrests in the treatment jurisdiction also decreased. This has potential positive effects for police-community relations, and perceptions of police legitimacy and effectiveness. Finally, the crime reductions in this evaluation were estimated to prevent more than 250 victims of violence and gun crime, and provide support for a new approach for PSN initiatives to replicate in research and practice.
... • Operation Ceasefire (Braga et al., 2001) • Operation Peacekeaper (Braga, 2008) • Project Safe Neighborhoods • Operation Ceasefire-Hollenbeck (Tita et al., 2003) • Indianapolis Violence Reduction Program (Corsaro & McGarrell, 2009;McGarrell et al., 2006) • Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (Engel et al., 2010;Engel et al., 2011) • St-Louis Anti-Gang Initiative (Decker & Curry, 2002) • Tri-Agency Resource Gang Enforcement Team (Kent et al., 2000) • Detroit Anti-Gang Initiative (Bynum & Varano, 2002) • Bloomington-Normal Comprehensive Gang Program (Spergel et al., 2001) ...
... Of those ten programs, six constitute different replications of "pulling-levers strategies". Operation Ceasefire (Braga, Kennedy, Waring & Piehl, 2001), the Indianapolis Violence Reduction Program (Corsaro & McGarrell, 2009;McGarrell, Chermak, Wilson & Corsaro, 2006), Operation Peacekeeper (Braga, 2008), Operation Ceasefire-Hollenbeck (Tita, Riley, Ridgeway, Grammich, Abrahamse & Greenwood, 2003), Project Safe Neighborhoods (Braga, Pierce, McDevitt, Bond & Cronin, 2008), and the Cincinnati Initative to Reduce Violence (Engel, Corsaro & Tillyer, 2010;Engel, Tillyer, & Corsaro, 2011) are different versions of problem-oriented policing approaches. 8 These approaches typically involve two components. ...
... First, a keyword search 4 was performed on 15 online abstract databases. 5 Second, we reviewed the bibliographies of past narrative and empirical reviews of literature in which 2. ...
Focused deterrence strategies are increasingly being applied to prevent and control gang and group-involved violence, overt drug markets, and individual repeat offenders. Our updated examination of the effects of focused deterrence strategies on crime followed the systematic review protocols and conventions of the Campbell Collaboration. Twenty-four quasi-experimental evaluations were identified in this systematic review. The results of our meta-analysis demonstrate that focused deterrence strategies are associated with an overall statistically significant, moderate crime reduction effect. Nevertheless, program effect sizes varied by program type and were smaller for evaluations with more rigorous research designs.
... Indeed, the perception of Ceasefire has been overwhelmingly positive and accordingly it has given rise to a number of similarly motivated strategies that are collectively referred to as "pulling levers." Prominent evaluations of pulling-levers interventions include research carried out in Richmond, VA (Raphael and Ludwig 2003), Indianapolis (McGarrell et al. 2006), Chicago (Papachristos, Meares, and Fagan 2007), Stockton, CA (Braga 2008b), Lowell, MA (Braga et al. 2008), High Point, NC (Corsaro et al. 2012), Nashville , Cincinnati (Engel, Corsaro, and Tillyer 2010), and Rockford, IL (Corsaro, Brunson, and McGarrell 2010). Researchers have also evaluated a multicity pulling-levers strategy known as Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which enlisted the cooperation of federal prosecutors to crack down on gun violence. ...
We review economics research regarding the effect of police, punishments, and work on crime, with a particular focus on papers from the last twenty years. Evidence in favor of deterrence effects is mixed. While there is considerable evidence that crime is responsive to police and to the existence of attractive legitimate labor-market opportunities, there is far less evidence that crime responds to the severity of criminal sanctions. We discuss fruitful directions for future work and implications for public policy. ( JEL J64, K42).
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Objective: The purpose of this review was to provide an evidence based recommendation for community based programs to mitigate gun violence, from the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST). Summary background data: Firearm Injury leads to more than 40,000 annual deaths and more than 115,000 injuries annually in the United States. Communities have adopted culturally relevant strategies to mitigate gun related injury and death. Two such strategies are gun buyback programs and community based violence prevention programs. Methods: The Injury Control and Violence Prevention Committee of EAST developed PICO questions and performed a comprehensive literature and gray web search. Using GRADE methodology, they reviewed and graded the literature and provided consensus recommendations informed by the literature. Results: A total of 19 studies were included for analysis of gun buyback programs. Twenty-six studies were reviewed for analysis for community-based violence prevention programs. Gray literature was added to the discussion of PICO questions from selected websites. A conditional recommendation is made for the implementation of community based gun buyback programs and a conditional recommendation for community based violence prevention programs, with special emphasis on cultural appropriateness and community input. Conclusion: Gun Violence may be mitigated by community based efforts, such as gun buybacks or violence prevention programs. These programs come with caveats, notably community cultural relevance and proper support and funding from local leadership. Level of evidence: Review, Decision, level III.
This Element examines an increasingly important community crime prevention strategy - focused deterrence. This strategy seeks to change offender behavior by understanding underlying crime-producing dynamics and conditions that sustain recurring crime problems, and implementing a blended set of law enforcement, community mobilization, and social service actions. The approach builds on recent theorizing on optimizing deterrence, mobilizing informal social control, enhancing police legitimacy, and reducing crime opportunities through situational crime prevention. There are three main types of focused deterrence strategies: group violence intervention programs, drug market intervention programs, and individual offender programs. A growing number of rigorous program evaluations find focused deterrence to be an effective crime prevention strategy. However, a number of steps need to be taken to ensure focused deterrence strategies are implemented properly. These steps include creating a network of capacity through partnering agencies, conducting upfront and ongoing problem analysis, and developing accountability structures and sustainability plans.
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This Campbell systematic review assesses the effectiveness of focused deterrence strategies known as “pulling levels” in reducing crime. The review summarises findings from 10 studies, all of which report evidence from programmes in the US. Pulling levers focused deterrence strategies are associated with a medium‐sized crime reduction effect. Nine out of 10 studies reported a statistically significant positive effect. There is a strongly significant medium size effect average effect across all studies. Gang or group intervention programs had the largest effect, followed by the drug market intervention programs, with the smallest but still statistically significant effect for the high‐risk individuals programs. All included studies use non‐randomized experimental designs, which have a risk of over‐stating impact. However, the effect size is large enough to have reasonable confidence in the effectiveness of these programs. Abstract BACKGROUND A number of American police departments have been experimenting with new problem‐oriented policing frameworks to prevent gang and group‐involved violence generally known as the “pulling levers” focused deterrence strategies. Focused deterrence strategies honor core deterrence ideas, such as increasing risks faced by offenders, while finding new and creative ways of deploying traditional and non‐traditional law enforcement tools to do so, such as directly communicating incentives and disincentives to targeted offenders. Pioneered in Boston to halt serious gang violence, the focused deterrence framework has been applied in many American cities through federally sponsored violence prevention programs. In its simplest form, the approach consists of selecting a particular crime problem, such as gang homicide; convening an interagency working group of law enforcement, social‐service, and community‐based practitioners; conducting research to identify key offenders, groups, and behavior patterns; framing a response to offenders and groups of offenders that uses a varied menu of sanctions (”pulling levers”) to stop them from continuing their violent behavior; focusing social services and community resources on targeted offenders and groups to match law enforcement prevention efforts; and directly and repeatedly communicating with offenders to make them understand why they are receiving this special attention. These new strategic approaches have been applied to a range of crime problems, such as overt drug markets and individual repeat offenders, and have shown promising results in the reduction of crime. OBJECTIVES To synthesize the extant evaluation literature and assess the effects of pulling levers focused deterrence strategies on crime. SELECTION CRITERIA Eligible studies had to meet three criteria: (1) the program had to have the core elements of a pulling levers focused deterrence strategy present; (2) a comparison group was included; (3) at least one crime outcome was reported. The units of analysis had to be people or places. SEARCH STRATEGY Several strategies were used to perform an exhaustive search for literature fitting the eligibility criteria. First, a keyword search was performed on an array of online abstract databases. Second, we reviewed the bibliographies of past narrative and empirical reviews of literature that examined the effectiveness of pulling levers focused deterrence programs. Third, we performed forward searches for works that have cited seminal focused deterrence studies. Fourth, we searched bibliographies of narrative reviews of police crime prevention efforts and past completed Campbell systematic reviews of police crime prevention efforts. Fifth, we performed hand searches of leading journals in the field. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS For our ten eligible studies, we complete a narrative review of effectiveness and a formal meta‐analysis of the main effects of these programs on reported crime outcomes. MAIN RESULTS Based on our narrative review, we find that nine of the ten eligible evaluations reported statistically significant reductions in crime. It is important to note here that all ten evaluations used nonrandomized quasi‐experimental designs. No randomized controlled trials were identified by our search strategies. Our meta‐analysis suggests that pulling levers focused deterrence strategies are associated with an overall statistically‐significant, medium‐sized crime reduction effect. CONCLUSIONS We conclude that pulling levers focused deterrence strategies seem to be effective in reducing crime. However, we urge caution in interpreting these results because of the lack of more rigorous randomized controlled trials in the existing body of scientific evidence on this approach.
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In 2006, more than 6 million individuals were victimized by violent crimes in the United States. Although violence is below levels of the early 1990s, it remains high. The extent of violence and its impact highlight a critical need to develop and implement effective programs to reduce violence and victimization. Communities have initiated a wide range of such programs, and scholars have conducted numerous evaluations of varying quality of them. Reviews have found certain types of strategies and specific programs to be promising, but additional critical evaluations are needed to plan violence-reduction programs. This monograph assesses the implementation and impact of the One Vision One Life violence-prevention strategy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2003, Pittsburgh witnessed a 49-percent increase in homicides, prompting a “grassroots” creation and implementation of the One Vision One Life antiviolence strategy. This initiative used a problem-solving, data-driven model, including street-level intelligence, to intervene in escalating disputes, and seeks to place youth in appropriate social programs. Analysis of the program, which is modeled on similar efforts elsewhere, can help inform other efforts to address urban violence.
During the past decade, there has been a renewed interest in prisoner reentry. This is due to a change in many of the factors surrounding the release of prisoners and their reentry to the community. These changes include a modification of sentencing from the use of parole to determinate release with fewer ex-offenders having supervision in the community, an increased emphasis on surveillance rather than assistance for those under supervision, less community stability and availability of community social service support, and dramatically larger numbers returning to the community. More releasees are being violated and returned to the community than ever before Therefore, it is important to identify prisoner reentry programs that work. We define reentry, categorize reentry programs, and use the Maryland Scale of Scientific Method to determine the effectiveness of program categories. We conclude that many such categories are effective in aiding reentry and reducing recidivism.
American Criminal Justice Policy examines many of the most prominent criminal justice policies on the American landscape and finds that they fall well short of achieving the accountability and effectiveness that policymakers have advocated and that the public expects. The policies include mass incarceration, sex offender laws, supermax prisons, faith-based prisoner reentry programs, transfer of juveniles to adult court, domestic violence mandatory arrest laws, drug courts, gun laws, community policing, private prisons, and many others. Optimistically, Daniel P. Mears argues that this situation can be changed through systematic incorporation of evaluation research into policy development, monitoring, and assessment. To this end, the book provides a clear and accessible discussion of five types of evaluation – needs, theory, implementation or process, outcome and impact, and cost-efficiency. and it identifies how they can be used both to hold the criminal justice system accountable and to increase the effectiveness of crime control and crime prevention efforts.
Academics have long studied the basic dimensions of homicide, with Marvin E. Wolfgang's pioneering 1958 classic, Patterns in Criminal Homicide, defining the shape of criminological research on homicide. However, this research has generally contributed relatively little to practical homicide prevention strategies. Recently, problem-solving initiatives have undertaken homicide studies in particular cities with the goal of understanding homicide patterns and dynamics and crafting city-specific intervention strategies. One such initiative in Minneapolis found that a large component of the city's homicides was committed by and against chronic, gang-involved offenders. Particularly where youth homicide was concerned, the Minneapolis findings were very similar to recent findings regarding youth homicide in Boston. Based in part on these findings, a “pulling levers” strategy focused on deterring violent offending by gang members, and on reducing tensions between gangs, was designed and implemented. Although very preliminary, initial results from the Minneapolis intervention appear to be promising.
Focused deterrence initiatives, including the most famous, Boston’s Operation Ceasefire, have been associated with significant reductions in violence in several U.S. cities. Despite early successes, some cities have experienced long-term sustainability issues. Recent work in Cincinnati, Ohio, has focused on institutionalizing focused deterrence in an attempt to achieve sustainability. Despite these efforts, it became apparent that institutionalization was necessary, but insufficient, to achieve long-term success. This study turns to criminological theory to understand why focused deterrence works and how the model can be improved to maximize crime prevention potential. In doing so, the authors draw from the principles of effective intervention from correctional rehabilitation research and describe how these elements have been integrated into the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence.
Indianapolis experienced record levels of homicide in the mid-1990s. Officials decided to use a problem-solving strategy that modeled a successful program implemented in Boston. The Indianapolis Violence Reduction Partnership involved a coalition of criminal justice and community agencies using a problem-solving approach to violence. The strategic response included having multiple agencies respond to homicide incidents, directing resources to crimes committed by chronic offenders, and having notification meetings with high-risk probationers and parolees. This research focuses on two issues. First, we describe the impact on homicide. Second, we evaluate the effectiveness of the notification meetings. The results indicate that homicides declined, and the evaluation of the notification meetings shows that arrestees thought the criminal justice system was more effective at responding to crime, however, probationers/parolees were not less likely to recidivate compared to a matched control group. The implications for using problem-solving strategies to respond to homicide are discussed.