We Are Violence Interrupters

We are advocates fighting to stop the spread of violence through our communities. Some of us are former gang members, drug dealers and even past perpetrators of violence, but we have changed our ways and we actively seek to diffuse potentially explosive situations and show our community members how to resolve conflicts peacefully.

The Cure Violence initiative was founded in 1995 by Dr. Gary Slutkin, an American epidemiologist who maintains that violence should be treated like an epidemic and can be prevented by stopping the behavior at its source. We believe in this perspective, we have put it to use and we have seen it work wonders in our communities.

In 2000, Cure Violence launched in West Garfield Park, one of the most violent communities in Chicago, and was quick to produce results reducing shootings by 67% in its first year. Since then, our results have been replicated more than 18 times in Chicago and throughout the world.

In June 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr., head of the Department of Justice, referenced Cure Violence as an example of “a rational, data-driven, evidence-based, smart approach to crime – the kind of approach that this Administration is dedicated to pursuing and supporting.”

Recently, Cure Violence participated in a 2-day workshop on the Contagion of Violence in collaboration with the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Over two dozen professionals and experts in a broad range of fields convened to consider self-directed, interpersonal, domestic, political, ethnic, community and collective violence as different manifestations of the same disease.

We ultimately want to shift the worldview of violence away from prosecution and focus more on prevention. If we can convince more and more people to properly re-understand violence as a disease, then we can treat it accordingly by stopping the epidemic, reversing it and curing it.

Success Stories

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Cure Violence has made an impact in communities in several cities. See examples of how our approach has reduced violence and helped transform lives.


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