This research examined the impact of focused deterrence on homicide and gun violence in Kansas City, MO.
In 2014, a coalition of police, prosecutors, city officials, researchers, and others implemented Kansas City No Violence Alliance, a focused deterrence violence reduction strategy. Using street-level intelligence and analysis, groups involved in violence were identified and notified of the consequences for future violent incidents. Leveraging existing social services, members opting for nonviolence were offered assistance. This study evaluated the impact on violence over 3 years of implementation. Using 2009-2016 police incident data on homicide (including group-member involved homicide) and gun-involved aggravated assault, time series models were estimated to determine the effects of focused deterrence during 2014-2016. Analysis indicated that focused deterrence implementation resulted in an immediate reduction in homicides and gun-involved aggravated assaults. This effect began to diminish about 12 months after the intervention began. During the third year, overall and group-member involved homicide numbers returned to pre-implementation levels, and gun-involved aggravated assaults exceeded those levels. After achieving significant first-year reductions, despite robust implementation and fidelity, violence returned to pre-implementation levels by the third year. Limitations in the focused deterrence model and the need for continuous evaluation and innovation are discussed. (publisher abstract modified)