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A New Blueprint For Expanding Local Antiviolence Efforts

Policymakers must tackle the “social determinants of safety” that contribute to neighborhood violence, the Brookings Institution says in a "blueprint" for federal officials to design evidence based antiviolence programs.

In an essay published this week, Brookings argues that "preventative safety is the most effective way to maintain public safety. Yet federal spending and policy priorities are not structured to harness this insight—the U.S. government dramatically underspends on programs that are most effective at improving community safety, while allocating billions to punitive programs that harm both families and communities."

The document discusses issues of public health, economic opportunity and housing security, youth development, environment, and institutional transformation.

It notes that communities affected by disinvestment and racial segregation have borne the brunt of recent violent crime increases, citing the examples of Chicago, Baltimore, Kansas City, Nashville, and 13 other cities.


The essay cites community violence intervention programs, including those in hospitals that help violence survivors. Cure Violence (formerly CeaseFire) is an example of a neighborhood-level violence intervention associated with significantly reducing violence in high-crime neighborhoods in Chicago and other cities.

Community-based organizations. "have long been testing alternative, bottom-up solutions to safety—especially in disinvested neighborhoods. However, the community infrastructure and institutions needed to stabilize communities are routinely underfunded," Brookings says.

The essay offers 16 evidence-based policy recommendations that it says may be effective in reducing local violence.

Among them:

--Create sustainable funding streams for community violence intervention programs.

--Expand "civilian crisis response models"

--Increase funding for community health clinics, trauma recovery centers, and community health workers,

--Expand economic opportunity for former prisoners.

--Create a grant program to fund local youth violence prevention plans.

--Fund youth centers, sports, enrichment activities, and neighborhood-based wraparound support programs.

--Increase grant funding for place-based neighborhood improvement projects.

--Provide sustainable and accessible funding for grassroots organizations

--Create a community safety division at the Department of Health and Human Services.

--Fund additional research on the social determinants of safety.

The essay includes case studies of local programs that Brookings says illustrates its proposals.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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