A St. Louis “violence interruption” program likely helped reduce violent gun crimes in only one of three areas in which it operated, a new study found.
The city-funded analysis by Washington University’s Institute for Public Health said the Cure Violence effort had a significant positive effect only in the site centered on the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood in North St. Louis, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The study said there is no evidence the program had a major impact in the other sites in the Walnut Park area of the North Side and the Dutchtown area in the south part of the city.
The researchers noted that rates of gun violence had dropped in all three Cure Violence sites since the program began in 2020 and in the city as a whole.
Only in the Wells-Goodfellow area was the decline much larger than in similar areas selected for comparison purposes.
“We estimate that the CV program prevented at least 12 incidents of gun violence … over 36 months, compared to what would have happened without the program” in the Wells-Goodfellow area, the study said.
Under the program, pioneered by the Chicago-based Cure Violence nonprofit, people were trained from areas affected by violence to mediate conflicts, discourage retaliatory shootings and work to change community culture.
The city started its program in June 2020 under then-Mayor Lyda Krewson. Other sites were added in November 2020 and January 2021.
The report said said researchers could find no changes in community attitudes and norms in the affected areas that they could directly attribute to the Cure Violence intervention.
Interviews with community members showed an overall lack of awareness of the program outside of business owners and employees.
An earlier analysis of the program, released in early 2022 by University of Missouri-St. Louis criminologist Richard Rosenfeld, also had raised questions about its effectiveness.