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Evaluation of a Comprehensive Approach to Reducing Gun Violence in Detroit

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2014
69 pages

The methodology and findings are presented for an evaluation of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) in Detroit, which was one of the first cities to use a comprehensive model to counter gun violence by integrating a problem-analysis component that identified small geographic areas of concentrated gun violence for tailored interventions.


The evaluation's overall conclusion is that the PSN gun initiative had a small but statistically significant effect in reducing gun violence in the target area during the 39 weeks of observation. There was no similar pattern of shootings during this period in other areas of this jurisdiction; however, the evaluation also shows the difficulty of maintaining reductions in gun violence after intensive enforcement activity has subsided. The PSN model involved five key components. First, collaborative partnerships were developed among law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies, social service agencies, and community groups. Second, a strategic plan was developed through a problem solving process that targeted gun-related law enforcement, prosecutions, and community outreach in the areas of concentrated gun violence and the groups involved. Third, extensive training was provided to task forces on strategic problem solving, firearms law enforcement, gun prosecution, and community outreach strategies. Fourth, outreach efforts promoted a message of "hard time for gun crime" that was intended to deter targeted groups from gun violence. Fifth, accountability was encouraged by having each district track its progress on several measures of performance for reports to the U.S. Justice Department. The evaluation analyzed the case review process regularly conducted by task forces, with attention to how cases on carrying concealed weapons were handled before and after the program's implementation. Arrest data were obtained for the offenses before and during the PSN intervention. Data were also compared for all non-fatal shootings and homicide before, during, and after the evaluation period (39 weeks). 24 tables and 27 references

Date Published: February 1, 2014