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Pulling Levers: Getting Deterrence Right

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Issue: 236 Dated: July 1998 Pages: 2-8
David Kennedy
Daniel Tompkins, Gayle O. Garmise
Date Published
July 1998
Three vignettes on experiences in Boston and Lowell, Massachusetts, and in Minneapolis highlight new approaches to crafting deterrence strategies to deal with juvenile crime.
In Boston, youth homicide fell by 66 percent after the Ceasefire strategy was put in place in 1996. The Ceasefire strategy resulted from the Boston Gun Project, an attempt to bring problem-solving policing to bear on the city's youth homicide problem. In Lowell, a strategy based on meetings between young people and authorities resulted in a decline in youth assaults. The strategy was to bring the city's worst trouble-makers, chronic offenders, and gang members to meetings with city and State agencies to discuss crime and offer solutions. According to a high school principal in Lowell who had been dealing with gang conflicts among students, there was an immediate quieting effect on the school. In Minneapolis, homicide fell by 45 percent city-wide in the months after the city kicked off its homicide prevention strategy which resulted in the arrest of the Bogus Boyz street gang. Experiences in the three cities demonstrate that a key aspect of effective deterrence is communicating directly with the last group usually included in crime control strategies, offenders themselves. 6 notes and 2 photographs