The University of Maryland has launched a Center for the Study and Practice of Violence Reduction. It is headed by Thomas Abt, a former U.S. Justice Department official who now is a senior fellow at the think tank known as the Council on Criminal Justice. "Our mission is simple: to save lives by stopping violence," Abt says. "We hope to achieve this by translating sound science into practical anti-violence policy." Abt says the center will focus on "community violence perpetrated with firearms." He vows to "gather the most rigorous research, synthesize it, and then make it available to all, free of charge. We will also provide practical instruction to federal, state, and especially local leaders on how to choose, apply, and align the right combination of anti-violence strategies for their jurisdictions."
Arnold Ventures is supporting the project. Abt is known for promoting violence reduction strategies that include community outreach to those likely to engage in violent crime, “hot spot policing” in areas of surging violence, and intervention by community members to defuse disputes before more shootings occur. He is a former prosecutor who later led violence reduction efforts for the U.S. Department of Justice and the state of New York. The center is the latest component of the 120 Initiative, a research collaboration of Washington, D.C.-area universities co-created by University of Maryland President Darryll Pines to seek solutions to firearm violence. It is named for the more than 120 people who are killed by firearms on average every day.