Evaluation of CeaseFire-Chicago
The report presents the findings of an evaluation of CeaseFire, a Chicago-based violence prevention program. The program is administered by the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention (CPVP). Formed in 1999, it began to expand in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois during the 2000s. At its peak it was active in about 25 program sites. CeaseFire focused on changing the behavior of a small number of carefully selected members of the community, those with a high chance of either “being shot or being a shooter” in the immediate future. Violence interrupters worked on the street, mediating conflicts between gangs and intervening to stem the cycle of retaliatory violence that threatens to break out following a shooting. Outreach workers counseled young clients and connected them to arange of services. A large survey of clients found that they were high risk on many indicators. Once in the program they saw their outreach workers frequently, and many were active participants in CeaseFire activities. In interviews, clients reported getting a great deal of assistance with the problems they brought to the program. These included needing a job, getting back into school or a GED program, and wanting to disengage from a gang. An examination of the impact of CeaseFire on shootings and killings found that violence was down by one measure or another in most of the areas that were examined in detail. Crime mapping found decreases in the size and intensity of shooting hot spots due to the program in more than half of the sites. There were significant shifts in gang homicide patterns in most of these areas due to the program, including declines in gang involvement in homicide and retaliatory killings.