Reducing Violence Without Police: A Review of Research Evidence
Date:  12-09-2020

Report represents the consultants' best advice for funding organizations and community leaders
From the John Jay Research and Evaluation Center report’s Executive Summary:

Arnold Ventures asked the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice to review and summarize research on policies and programs known to reduce community violence without relying on police. To accomplish this goal, the Research and Evaluation Center assembled a diverse group of academic consultants across the fields of criminology, social and behavioral sciences, public health, epidemiology, law, and public policy. The group met several times during the summer of 2020 to produce an accessible synthesis of research evidence.

Key questions were:

  • Can communities ensure the health and security of residents without depending on law enforcement,

  • What is the strongest research evidence to aid in the selection of violence-reduction strategies,

  • How can community leaders and funding organizations like Arnold Ventures draw upon existing evidence while building even better evidence, and

  • How can funding organizations use this report to elevate discussions about violence, improve outcomes in communities affected by violence, and help local and national partners to identify evidence-based interventions that are ready to be scaled.

    The consultants used a broad lens to define community violence as the type of interpersonal violence that occurs in public places, but they considered the personal and structural antecedents of violence as well. By identifying the precursors of violence and emphasizing both their practical salience and theoretical relevance, the group sought to identify the most useful evidence for preventing and reducing community violence.

    This report represents the consultants’ best advice for funding organizations and community leaders, but it is not a technical synthesis of research or a meta-analysis of the most rigorous studies. (There are sources for that information already, see, a site hosted for the U.S. Department of Justice.)

    This report summarizes the collective judgment of an experienced group of researchers who were free to consider all evidence, unconstrained by the conventional priority given to randomized controlled trials (RCT). The most rigorous studies in the field of community violence are RCTs, but many focus on individual behaviors only, failing to account for the full social context giving rise to those behaviors, including social and economic inequities, institutionalized discrimination, and the racial and class biases of the justice system itself.

    Read the full report here.