07 May 2008

UC Initiative to Reduce Violent Crime

I thought this article was interesting and am linking to it, because it is in the UC magazine, which probably doesn't have a big readership:

Researchers save lives by unlocking the street code in Cincinnati

... Dozens of young men filed into a downtown courtroom last summer. ...they were summoned as a condition of probation or parole to sit through a surprise "call-in session," ...Facing them was an assembly of men and women -- law enforcement officers, criminal justice workers, social service providers and community members --hellbent on convincing their captive audience to end the bloodshed.

Cops laid down new stiffer rules with federal sentences. Weary moms described burying sons. And social workers offered job training as a way out.

By the end of the tense session, the message seemed to penetrate. Dead stares at the wall and blank looks at the floor gave way to more respectful glances, even full attention. A few in the benches actually broke down in tears. And afterward, astonishingly, the phones started ringing from those who wanted out.

... most shocking was the sheer number ready to give up their hardened ways. Experts who had implemented similar initiatives in other cities cautioned Cincinnati to expect a handful, at best, to take such positive steps.

... "When they come into these call-ins they are tough. They have this street image -- like this is 'BS' or they can't be bothered.

"Then the mothers (of the dead) speak. And you can see them hang their heads. They know. They can't escape the honesty of what these people are saying. "You can see their tears, especially when they say to them, 'Don't let this be your mother. This is the pain that's left behind.'"

... UC researchers ... have developed social networking models that pinpoint 67 different violent street groups in the city. ... data now allows researchers to literally generate a map of bad guys and "who has a beef with whom."

... the majority of the Queen City's killings have more to do with respect than drugs. ... the community can curb the number of homicides by disrupting the group dynamic that promotes a violent response as the method for addressing disrespect.

... what seems to set the Cincinnati method apart is its "carrot." CIRV relies heavily on social services and the community to reach troubled men who need a way out.

... today, the London Metropolitan Police are implementing the Cincinnati model. Closer to home, UC researchers will soon use state funds to take the CIRV plan to eight cities across Ohio.

No comments: