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Community Problem-Solving to Reduce Juvenile Gun Violence: Atlanta's Experience

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2002
31 pages
This document discusses the Atlanta (Georgia) Project PACT (Pulling America’s Communities Together).
Firearm-related deaths and injuries among youth reached an all-time high in 1993. The following year a consortium of Federal officials, local government agencies, and community groups created metropolitan Atlanta Project PACT. The goal was to reduce violent crime in a five-county area of metropolitan Atlanta through coordinated community action. Juvenile gun violence emerged as the top concern following a series of consensus-building sessions. The Emory Center for Injury Control agreed to serve as the evaluation partner for this effort. Baseline measures of the magnitude, extent, and nature of juvenile gun violence were obtained, analyzed, and shared with participating agencies and community groups. The best ideas of local law enforcement and juvenile justice were combined with lessons learned in other cities to produce a list of candidate interventions. The effort first focused on a set of proactive policing and prosecutorial interventions, called “strategic firearms enforcement.” Instead of relying on rapid response to 911 calls and post-incident investigations to catch violent gun offenders, strategic firearm enforcement seeks to preempt violent gun crimes by breaking the chain of illegal events that precede many shootings. These nonviolent crimes, including illegal supply, acquisition, and carrying of firearms, are necessary antecedents to more serious violent crimes, such as robbery, aggravated assault, and homicide. Strategic firearm enforcement can reduce firearm violence and complement traditional community-building efforts such as teen outreach, offender rehabilitation, and economic development. Over the course of the project, both the intervention and the role of the evaluation team dramatically evolved. Initially, the evaluation team attempted to remain aloof from the process. It became necessary for the team to get directly involved in order to break down interagency barriers and keep the effort on track. Partnerships made during the early days of the Atlanta PACT intervention matured through subsequent iterations of the program and continue to this day. 62 references

Date Published: December 1, 2002