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Law Enforcement Activities of Philadelphia's Group Violence Intervention: An Examination of Arrest, Case Processing, and Probation Levers

NCJ Number
Police Quarterly Dated: 2019
Date Published

This article provides a descriptive analysis of the law enforcement activities or “levers” undertaken after enforcement operations in Philadelphia as a part of the focused deterrence strategy.


The number of jurisdictions implementing focused deterrence strategies targeted at gangs continues unabated. Although recent research suggests positive impacts of the strategy on reductions in gun violence, little is known about the particular mechanisms operating behind the strategy. The current article quantifies the execution of levers related to arrest, case processing, and probation sanctioning during enforcement activities after shootings. The results show that Philadelphia achieved success in implementing the enforcement levers as intended, and there was little evidence that arrest practices were overly aggressive. The authors suggest that future evaluations seek to carefully document the wide array of levers used in concert with an assessment of community understanding of and reactions to the strategy as well as an examination of reactions of group members targeted. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019