The program operates on the premise that like infectious disease, violence is better understood and more successfully treated as an epidemic. Violence is treated using methods and strategies associated with disease control. Methods include: deleting and interrupting transmission/conflicts, identifying and treating high-risk individuals to reduce disease/violence, and changing community & social mores.
- To Interrupt Transmission – The program utilizes outreach workers who are highly trained, live in the community, are known to high-risk people, and are culturally appropriate, similar to indigenous workers used in the public health model. They are trained to detect potential shooting events, mediate conflicts and keep safe in dangerous situations.
- Identifying and Changing the Thinking of Highest Risk Potential Transmitters – They act as mentors and provide multiple weekly counseling sessions and social services regarding drug abuse, housing, employment assistance, as well as providing conflict resolution when there has been a shooting, visiting shooting victims at hospitals to begin the process and avoid escalation.
- Changing Social Mores – They utilize public education, community events, responses to shootings and community mobilization to change group and community norms related to the use of firearms. They educate on health elements such as: the neurological effects of violence, public health intervention, socio-behavioral science and violence as a contagion (example: intergenerational transmission).
- Coordination with law enforcement –Foster understanding that the program and law enforcement are both working on the same issue, primarily interested in reducing violence, focused as working with the community, and relying on data to guide implementation.
- Program operates in several cities including Philadelphia, New York City, Baltimore and Chicago.
There have been numerous independent studies of Cure Violence programs documenting the results of the programs. For example: The John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City research and evaluation of Cure Violence, NYC in 2017 showed there was a 30% reduction in shootings compared to previous years, a 37-50% reduction in gun injuries in two of the communities participating, and a 63% reduction in one other community. There was also an 18% reduction in killings across 13 Cure Violence sites.
For information on other studies, visit http://cureviolence.org/results/scientific-evaluations/