Evaluation of Cure Violence Chicago*

“I found the statistical results to be as strong as you could hope for.”
– Wes Skogan, lead evaluator

A National Institute of Justice funded evaluation led by Northwestern University showed statistically significant results across all seven communities, reductions in shootings and killings of 41% to 73%, reductions in shooting hot spots of up to 40%, and the elimination of retaliation killings in 5 of 8 communities.

Implementation Highlights

  • 84% of clients were very high risk
  • 87% of clients received the essential help that they needed
  • Outreach workers ranked second only to parents as most important adults in the lives of the clients

Outcome Highlights

  • Making communities safer – Reductions in shootings of 41% to 73%
  • Eliminating retaliations – 100% reductions in retaliation homicides in 5 of 8 communities
  • Consistent results – Statistically significant results in all communities examined
  • “Overall, the impact of the [Cure Violence] Program is significant and moderate-to-large in size.”
  • “In every program area there was a substantial decline in the median density of shootings following the introduction of [Cure Violence].”



Summary of Chicago Evaluation

From 2004 to 2007, the Cure Violence Public Health Strategy underwent an extensive evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the strategy (Skogan et al., 2009). Each of the analyses showed positive results for Cure Violence and overall the strategy was found to be effective. Through a time series analysis Skogan’s team looked at 16 years of data, from 1991 to 2007. All seven of the communities analyzed experienced reductions in shootings in the range of 41% to 73%. When compared to carefully matched control communities the Cure Violence zones showed statistically significant results for four of the seven Cure Violence communities, with reductions in shootings in the range of 16% to 28% that were specifically attributed to Cure Violence. All seven communities were found to have substantial reductions in the density of shootings and six of the seven communities grew “noticeably safer.”

Gang network analysis looked at gang related homicides in the Cure Violence communities and comparison communities to determine if the introduction of Cure Violence had any effect on patterns of homicides. The findings of this analysis were generally mixed, an outcome that is not surprising since an analysis of homicides in such a small area would yield numbers too small to reliably show an effect. However, the analysis of homicides by one gang against another, which are then reciprocated with the other gang killing a member of the first gang—found that these reciprocal homicides were reduced by 100% in five of the eight Cure Violence communities.

Formative evaluation found that 84% of the clients met the criteria for being at high risk to be the victim or offender of a gun crime and 87% of clients received the help they needed in terms of getting employment, leaving a gang, getting assistance for drug abuse, obtaining an education and other needs. Clients’ ranked Cure Violence outreach workers second only to parents as important adults in their lives upon whom they could rely.

Download the full Chicago Evaluation report

* Programs in Chicago were formerly called CeaseFire and are referred to by this name in the evaluations.

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