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Don't Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America

NCJ Number
David M. Kennedy
Date Published
334 pages
This book describes a program introduced in Boston, Massachusetts to combat drug- and gang-related violence in poor, predominantly Black neighborhoods.
This book describes the three-components (law enforcement, community action, and social policy) of the Ceasefire program: recognized gang members are brought in under probation or parole authority, and given an opportunity to listen to concerned members of their own community express their desire for the violence to stop; social workers offer services to help them detach from the cycle of violence; and the police provide assurance that each gang that continued to engage in violence, starting with the most violent, would be effectively targeted and removed from the streets. Recognizing that the gang members were arming themselves because of the escalating violence and the fears they had for their safety, the police pledged to react strongly to any threats against those cooperating with the effort. The program resulted in a dramatic reduction in violence and cooperation between gang members and police, where they became so confident of its success that they would report to the police on new, aggressive gangs and ride with officers to help identify members. The success of the program has been acknowledged. Kennedy's principles are being applied in other cities suffering from highly violent gang activity among their youngsters. Other cities are studying the program and devising ways to implement it in their communities.