Leveraging Community Voices in Violence Prevention

On September 27, 2016, research conducted by the Urban Institute under the National Initiative was presented by Nancy La Vigne at a Congressional Briefing on "Violence and Violence Prevention." At the briefing, which was sponsored by Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy (CEBCP) in collaboration with WestEd’s Justice and Prevention Research Center, La Vigne detailed data collected from surveys distributed to residents of high-crime, low-income neighborhoods in each of the National Initiative’s six pilot sites—Birmingham AL; Fort Worth, TX; Gary, IN; Minneapolis, MN; Pittsburgh, PA; and Stockton, CA—that confirms suspicions of longstanding mistrust between law enforcement and communities of color.

For example, fewer than half of all survey respondents believe that police officers are responsive to community concerns and are held accountable for misconduct. Similarly, more than half of those surveyed agreed that officers judge local residents "based on personal biases or prejudices" and that they treat people differently based on their race or ethnicity.

Despite this high degree of mistrust, law enforcement and communities of color share common ground, with many residents willing to serve as active partners in crime prevention. More than 60 percent of respondents said they would report crimes or suspicious activities to police and about half said they would attend community meetings to discuss crime prevention. 

These surveys, part of the National Initiative's research and evaluation component, were distributed in each of our six pilot sites before the project was underway. Following its completion, a second round of surveys will be distributed to measure the impact of interventions oriented around implicit bias, procedural justice, and reconciliation.

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation and below for the video.


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