Safe Streets Evaluation Demonstrates Successful Results

A new study released by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shows Safe Streets Baltimore, a replication of Cure Violence-Chicago, has successfully reduced gun violence in targeted neighborhoods. In 2007, Safe Streets Baltimore was launched by the Baltimore City Health Department in four historically violent neighborhoods—McElderry Park, Elwood Park, Madison-Eastend, and Cherry Hill—with remarkable results. The study, which is slated for publication in a future edition of the Journal of Urban Health , represents the first rigorous evaluation of a Cure Violence replication. An earlier three-year, independent evaluation of the Chicago Cure Violence model can be found here.

From July 2007 through December 2010, outreach staff mediated 276 disputes, including those handled here by Tard Carter, a 34-year-old Violence Interrupter for Safe Streets and recipient of a CNN Hero Award last September . This breaks down to between one and four mediations per month for each of the four communities where the program was implemented. The vast majority involved situations where gun violence was highly likely and bloodshed imminent, including disputes between armed gun members. All four neighborhoods had a statistically significant decline in either homicides or nonfatal shootings or both.

“The results suggest that the number of conflicts mediated by the outreach workers was associated with greater program impact on homicides,” said Daniel Webster, lead author of the study and deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence. (Read more on the program from Daniel Webster here).

Additional findings of the study show:

  • Overall, researchers estimated the program prevented at least 5 homicide incidents and 35 nonfatal shooting incidents. Had there not been increases in homicides following program implementation in Madison-Eastend and a neighborhood bordering Elwood Park – which were likely unrelated to the program – the program is estimated to have prevented 15 homicides in four of the most violent neighborhoods in Baltimore.
  • In the South Baltimore neighborhood Cherry Hill, the program was associated with a 56 percent decline in homicides and a 34 percent decline in nonfatal shootings.
  • The program was associated with a 34 percent drop in nonfatal shootings in Elwood Park.
  • Researchers estimated that Safe Streets Baltimore was responsible for a 26 percent reduction in homicides in McElderry Park over nearly three and a half years the program was in place. This site did not experience a homicide during the first 23 months of program implementation.