This report presents the methodology and findings of a process and outcome evaluation of CeaseFire, a Chicago-based violence prevention program that focused on changing the behavior of a small number of selected community residents at high risk for "being shot or being a shooter" in the immediate future.
Six of the seven CeaseFire sites evaluated showed decreases in the size and intensity of shooting "hot spots." The evaluation indicated that the decreases in four of these areas were linked to the CeaseFire intervention. In the other two areas, evidence that the decline was linked to CeaseFire was inconclusive. In four sites, reciprocal killings in retaliation for earlier events decreased more in the program areas than in the comparison areas. Average gang involvement in homicides showed greater improvements in three of the CeaseFire areas. The report notes that linking CeaseFire to declines in violence in areas of Chicago is complicated because of the huge and ill-understood decline in violence in Chicago that began in 1992. The evaluation could not account for possible differences between target and comparison areas in terms of unknown factors linked to the general decline in violence across Chicago communities. The CeaseFire program's core activity was selecting "violence interrupters" to work on the street, mediating conflicts between gangs and intervening to stem the cycle of retaliatory violence that threatened to break out following a shooting. Outreach workers counseled targeted youth and connected them to a range of services. The process portion of the evaluation documented how the program was implemented in the field. Attention was given to the selection of target neighborhoods, choosing local host organizations, staffing, training, and management practices. The outcome evaluation used statistical models, crime "hot spot" maps, and gang network analyses in order to assess program impacts on shootings and killings. 22 figures, 34 tables, and 6 appendixes with supplementary information and reports
Date Published: March 1, 2008