Audio and transcripts are provided of the presentations made by members of the Plenary Panel on Homicide in the United States during the 2009 NIJ (National Institute of Justice) Conference.
The panel consisted of leaders with expertise in urban issues related to homicide. They discuss promising approaches that have resulted in reduced violence and community empowerment. Panel member James A. Fox of Northeastern University (Boston MA), reviews recent statistics on homicide, he notes that in percentage terms, the Nation is at a record high peak in the percentage of homicides that involve guns among young Black males (up to 85 percent). On the other hand, the percentage of homicides among White adults that involve guns has continued to decline. Fox expresses concern that the Nation has moved backwards on the issue of guns. He recommends that the Nation return to the strategy for dealing with guns that was implemented in the 1990s, which did not violate the second amendment. Fox also discusses the issue of youth gangs and their link to homicides. Increased resources for preventing and countering gangs are recommended. The second panel presentation by Gary Slutkin, Executive Director of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention, focuses on an intervention for reducing violence that is called CeaseFire. This project trains workers to go into "hot spots" where violence is occurring at a high rate. These so-called "messengers" respond to every shooting and provide an associated public education campaign that targets the "triggers" of the shooting event. Data are provided to show the effectiveness of CeaseFire in Chicago. The third member of the panel, M. Kim Ward of the Community Resources Bureau of the Baltimore County Police Department, describes his agency's effective effort to address homicide by targeting domestic violence cases, which can escalate into homicide.
Date Published: July 1, 2009