U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Reducing Violent Crime and Firearms Violence: The Indianapolis Lever-Pulling Experiment

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2007
224 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of a program ("lever-pulling") in Indianapolis intended to reduce violence in general and firearms violence in particular.
Evaluation findings show that "lever-pulling" as implemented in Indianapolis had little effect on the probationers involved. Meetings held with individuals at risk for violence in order to communicate to them the intent of law enforcement officers and the courts to focus on and punish (lever-pulling) violent behavior was effective in disrupting their perceptions of risk related to being apprehended and punished severely for violent crimes. The treatment probationers (probationers exposed to the meetings) and control probationers (those not exposed to the meetings) committed similar types of offenses after the program was implemented. Specifically, there were no significant differences in self-reported gun activities between the treatment and control groups. Further, the number and type of probation technical violations following the meeting were not different between the treatment and control groups. In addition, the treatment probationers were not more likely to take advantage of community programming following the meeting, but they were less likely to miss meetings with their probation officers. Finally, there was little evidence that a consistent range of "levers" (sanctions) were "pulled" after the meeting. The "call in" meetings were the primary mechanism used to alter probationers' behavior. The intent of the program was to communicate directly with chronically violent offenders about new efforts to address their crimes and use all available legal sanctions ("levers") when they committed violent offenses. The evaluation used an experimental design. Probationers were randomly assigned to two types of meetings (law enforcement and community) or to a control group over the 6 months between June 2003 and March 2004. All felony probationers convicted of 13 violent, drug, gun, and property offenses were eligible. Tables, figures, and 67 references

Date Published: December 1, 2007