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Implementing Youth Violence Reduction Strategies: Findings from a Synthesis of the Literature on Gun, Group, and Gang Violence

NCJ Number
Andreea Matei ; Leigh Courtney; Krista White; Lily Robin; Paige S. Thompson; Rod Martinez; Janine Zweig
Date Published
January 2022
51 pages

As one component of a project to develop a guide for using research-based practice to reduce youth gun and gang/group violence, this report presents findings from the synthesis of the literature on youth gun, group, and gang violence


The primary audience for this literature review and the overall project is the leadership of local government bodies, because their decisions greatly influence whether violence-reduction practices are effectively implemented and sustained. The current literature review identified and synthesized research on interventions designed to reduce gun violence committed by youth and young adults between the ages of 10 and 25 in gangs and other groups. For a research study to be included in the review it had to 1) be an empirical evaluation or a review of empirical evaluations and published between January 1, 1980, and October 31, 2019; 2) focus on one or more interventions designed to serve youth between the ages of 10 and 25; and 3) focus on interventions that have addressed gun violence committed by people affiliated with gangs and groups. The primary goal was to synthesize findings about the implementation of interventions and outcomes regarding their efficacy in reducing violence in communities. Outcomes of interest were 1) behavioral changes relating to gun violence ( for example, group membership and gun-carrying); 2) interim outcomes that may have driven observed changes in violence (e.g., number of interactions with outreach workers and psychosocial changes); and 3) measures of law enforcement activity (e.g., contacts or arrests). The literature review categorized the interventions that addressed youth group and gun violence under three major models: 1) focused deterrence; 2) the public health model; and 3) the comprehensive gang model. The interventions included in this synthesis were implemented in 58 unique locations, with some implemented in multiple locations.