Faced with a national epidemic of gun violence that began in the 1980s and continued throughout most of the 1990s, the federal government launched a new effort to help local authorities address gun crime. Many cities worked with NIJ researchers and other federal, state and local partners to design and test interventions to get illegally obtained guns off the streets and out of the hands of urban youth.
Initially, firearms violence intervention and research focused on either reducing the demand for illegally obtained guns or reducing the supply. More than 20 years of intervention programs, however, have shown that a single approach is not likely to work. To reduce gun violence, a sustained program that addresses both demand and supply is needed. A successful intervention will have elements of federal-local law enforcement collaboration, community involvement, targeted intervention tactics and continuous program evaluation.
A key lesson learned from several decades of gun violence intervention programs is that sustained federal-local partnerships improve efforts to reduce gun violence within a city or community. The U.S. Department of Justice's national gun violence reduction program, Project Safe Neighborhoods, helps localities develop and implement partnerships and strategies that are likely to work.