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Developing a St. Louis Model for Reducing Gun Violence: A Report From the Police Executive Research Forum to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

NCJ Number
Christopher S. Koper; Debra Hoffmaster; Andrea Luna; Shannon McFadden; Daniel Woods
Date Published
March 2010
136 pages
This report presents the features and evaluation design and findings of an intervention by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and partner organizations that targeted gun violence and other violence in one of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods.
The project involved increased enforcement and prosecution initiatives, improved monitoring of high-risk probationers, nuisance abatement, improvements in the physical environment, community outreach through community policing, and the coordination of these activities by a project working group. These activities were conducted intensively for 6-9 months. The evaluation of the project found that relative to trends in comparison areas that had no such intervention, violence in the targeted area declined 18-19 percent during the program period, and violent crimes with guns declined 28-32 percent. These reductions were most strongly linked to the program's heightened enforcement efforts; however, the evaluation findings were not of sufficient magnitude to be statistically significant beyond its early weeks, when enforcement efforts were most intensive and total violence declined significantly. Outcome measures included data on total Part I violent crimes and Part I violent crimes with guns. Data spanning from 2005 through 2008 were examined for changes in crime levels and trends in the target neighborhood following implementation of the program, In addition, researchers compared trends in the target neighborhood to trends in comparable neighborhoods that did not receive interventions similar to those undertaken in the target neighborhood. Seven comparison neighborhoods, which were matched to the intervention neighborhood on 13 characteristics composed the control group. Although the evaluation findings were not conclusive, they suggest that police efforts to reduce violence through multi-agency community initiatives can achieve improvements in the prevalence of violence in a neighborhood.