This study will evaluate CeaseFire, a program managed by the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention. The program has five core components: client outreach, community mobilization, law enforcement collaboration, clergy intervention, and public education. Program implementation is largely in the hands of local community organizations that contract with the central office to partner with service providers, community groups, and institutions. Most program activity is executed by outreach workers devoted to connecting at-risk youth to a broad range of services and local resources, and intervening to negotiate nonviolent solutions to emerging gang conflicts.
The evaluation will take advantage of the program's decentralized nature to examine the efficiency and effectiveness of variations in CeaseFire's local implementation. The evaluation is divided into a process evaluation (Phase I) and an outcome evaluation (Phase II). Phase I analysis features a mapping of the actual program and clarification of the logic underlying CeaseFire's interventions. The variation in the decentralized program requires extensive interviews, observation, and a survey of program staff to document what the program encompasses and the variety of ways that strategies are implemented in different service areas. Fieldwork and a survey will also be conducted to assess the effectiveness of organizational coalitions comprising the program. CeaseFire is a community justice partnership and one of its goals is to facilitate development of local networks among community groups, institutions, and service providers. A costing study will be conducted as a part of the Phase I report on program activities and transferability.
The Phase II impact evaluation will examine CeaseFire's effect on violence in the target neighborhoods. An area-level study of trends in violent crime will identify its crime-reduction potential. Ethnographic fieldwork and a reanalysis of existing survey datasets will examine the program's broader community effects, including a possible extension of the communities' capacity to police themselves. In addition, ethnographic field work and a statistical network analysis will examine CeaseFire's impact on the dynamics of area gangs. Criminal history records and personal interviews will be analyzed to measure the program's impact on individual clients and to document the individual-level dynamics of desistance from offending. Finally, Phase II will also address the cost-effectiveness of CeaseFire's violence prevention efforts.