Successful Year for CeaseFire Illinois – Two Sites Close But Hope to Reopen in 2014

CeaseFire Illinois is a model program for reducing violence which has been demonstrated effective through a multiyear external evaluation funded by the US Department of Justice. Following the Cure Violence model, it uses an epidemic control framework, based on Institute of Medicine workshop findings of violence as a contagious process, employing highly trained interrupters, behavior change outreach workers, and a full community platform for changing both behaviors and community norms.

In the last year, two communities, Chicago’s Lawndale and Woodlawn neighborhoods, were added by the City of Chicago to the 19 communities already funded bv the State of Illinois and multiple foundations. During the first year of implementation of these pilot sites a combined reduction of 37.7 percent in shootings and 28.6 percent in killings was achieved. Individually, the Woodlawn site has seen an overall decrease in homicides of 71.4 percent and an overall decrease in shootings of 44 percent through Labor Day 2013. The North Lawndale site reported 1,255 hours of outreach work interaction and 141 conflict mediations, and the Woodlawn site had 54 participants and 23 conflict mediations.

Funds expired in September 2013 and the sites were closed–hopefully temporarily.

Funding gaps at the time of year are a common for CeaseFire Illinois which must regularly juggle government funding fluctuations. We remain hopeful that there will be funds for these sites in the next budget cycle which starts January 1, 2014, allowing them both to reopen their doors.

The CeaseFire Illinois state budget showed an increase of funds for several communities, particularly Roseland and Englewood, but additional funds were not earmarked for North Lawndale or Woodlawn.

>> Learn more on WBEZ:

>> Read the Chicago evaluation: