David Kennedy


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John Jay College of Criminal Justice
New York City

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David Kennedy

  1. 1. “ DON’T SHOOT” Police Leadership Conference Vancouver, BC Canada April 13, 2012 David M. Kennedy Director Center for Crime Prevention and Control John Jay College of Criminal Justice [email_address] 212 484-1323
  2. 2. IN MANY OF OUR CITIES, CRIME IS VERY SERIOUS <ul><li>Violent crime remains very high in some places, even in “safe” cities </li></ul><ul><li>Concentrated in poor minority neighborhoods </li></ul><ul><li>Concentrated by place and group even within those neighborhoods </li></ul><ul><li>Driven by violent groups and drug markets </li></ul>
  3. 3. CONCENTRATION IS APPALLING <ul><li>US homicide rate: 8:100,000 </li></ul><ul><li>Age 15-19: 22.4:100,000 </li></ul><ul><li>Males: 36.3:100,000 </li></ul><ul><li>Blacks: 147:100,000 </li></ul><ul><li>Rochester, NY: 264:100,000 </li></ul><ul><li>Rochester’s “Crescent”: 520:100,000 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>65 times national average </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1 in 200 young black men killed every year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Source: John Klofas, 2007 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. WHAT WE’D LIKE TO BE ABLE TO DO <ul><li>Eliminate gangs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enforcement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prevention and intervention </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prevent gang offending </li></ul><ul><li>Stop recruitment </li></ul><ul><li>Separate gang members from gangs </li></ul><ul><li>“ Solve the gang problem” </li></ul>
  5. 5. THE UNPLEASANT TRUTH <ul><li>There is no evidence that any approaches or combination of approaches can accomplish any of these goals </li></ul><ul><li>Nobody has ever addressed a serious gang problem effectively in these ways </li></ul><ul><li>Effects of traditional interventions, when they exist, are small, and smaller for the most serious offenders and offending </li></ul>
  6. 6. WHY MOST OF WHAT WE DO DOESN’T WORK <ul><li>We continue to pursue strongly held and desirable goals, using strongly felt and logical means, that so far cannot be attained and are not effective </li></ul><ul><li>We separate authority, services, and moral engagement </li></ul><ul><li>We address individuals, not “gangs” and groups </li></ul><ul><li>We do not engage directly with the street culture </li></ul>
  7. 7. WHAT WE CAN DO <ul><li>Have a large, rapid impact on selected elements of gang behavior </li></ul>
  8. 9. THIS IS ABOUT GROUPS AND GROUP DYNAMICS <ul><li>Groups drive a huge share of the action </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cincinnati: ~60 groups/1500 people/75% of the homicide/0.3% of the city </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t matter if they’re “gangs” </li></ul><ul><li>Group dynamics drive things – groups are different than individuals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Groups carry the street code </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vendettas and rivalries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Pluralistic ignorance” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So: identify and engage with these groups </li></ul>
  9. 10. REALITY OF THESE GROUPS <ul><li>Most not what we think of as “gangs” </li></ul><ul><li>Most “gangs” aren’t what we think of as gangs </li></ul><ul><li>No real leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Little organization or hierarchy </li></ul><ul><li>Little common purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Most violence basically personal, not economic </li></ul><ul><li>“ Gangs” can be a huge distraction </li></ul>
  10. 11. THE BASIC FRAMEWORK <ul><li>Wide-ranging partnership: law enforcement, community, services </li></ul><ul><li>Very small target populations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Violent groups </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Direct, sustained communication with offenders as groups </li></ul><ul><li>Simple, unified message </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The community needs this to stop </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll help </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We’re not asking: consequences are certain </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Meticulous follow-up </li></ul>
  11. 12. VERY SMALL POPULATION <ul><li>Even in hardest-hit neighborhoods, typically less than 5% of young men in high-risk age group </li></ul><ul><li>Even fewer “impact players” </li></ul><ul><li>Enormous impact on community, next age group </li></ul>
  12. 13. OFFENDER IDEAS MATTER THE MOST <ul><li>Majority of violence, usually, not about business: beefs, boy/girl, respect </li></ul><ul><li>We’re really dealing with the street code </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Disrespect requires violence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We’re not afraid of death or prison </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We handle our own business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We’ve got each other’s back </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We’re victims </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We’re justified in what we do </li></ul></ul>
  13. 14. CIRV – Network Analysis of Street Sets Red – Beef Green – Alliance Blue – Volatile
  16. 18. STRATEGIC INTERVENTION <ul><li>Direct, sustained engagement with street groups: community, services, law enforcement standing and acting together </li></ul><ul><li>Face-to-face with groups </li></ul><ul><li>Explicit focus on violence </li></ul>
  17. 19. 1) CONSEQUENCES <ul><li>Group accountability for homicide: group dynamic, group sanction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Last resort </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explained ahead of time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By any legal means: “pulling levers” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most serious sanctions on impact players </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Careful promise: sanction on next homicide; on most violent group </li></ul><ul><li>Reversal of pro-violence peer pressure </li></ul><ul><li>“ Honorable exit” </li></ul>
  18. 20. 2) MORAL ENGAGEMENT WITH OFFEN DERS <ul><li>Offenders can and will choose, are responsible human beings </li></ul><ul><li>There’s right, there’s wrong, no gray area </li></ul><ul><li>Enormous harm being done – community can’t have it </li></ul><ul><li>Engagement with dangerous and mistaken street code </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone is important, everyone matters </li></ul><ul><li>Best with “influentials” involved </li></ul>
  19. 21. THIS COMES BEST FROM THE COMMUNITY ITSELF <ul><li>Why don’t we get this naturally? </li></ul><ul><li>Community racial narratives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unpopularity of even legitimate actions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Real illegality and abuse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community narrative: conspiracy and deliberate oppression, the latest in a long history </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community anger, suspicion, and silence misunderstood by law enforcement and dealers as tolerance for crime and violence </li></ul></ul>
  20. 22. ADDRESS KEY NORMS AND NARRATIVES <ul><li>In order for law enforcement and community to truly work together, mutual and toxic misunderstandings need to be explicitly addressed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Law enforcement is not solving problem, is doing harm, is playing into racial stereotypes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community is not taking responsibility, is not setting standards, is playing into racial stereotypes </li></ul></ul>
  21. 23. THE MORAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNITY <ul><li>Clear, direct, community stand </li></ul><ul><li>Most important step possible </li></ul><ul><li>Respected local figures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Parents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ministers, mothers, activists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Do you want your mother standing here?” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ We need you, you’re better than this.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offenders and ex-offenders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Shot any CIA agents lately?” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Who helped your mother last time you were locked up?” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Who thinks it’s OK for little kids to get shot?” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 24. 3) HELP IS A MORAL AND PRACTICAL OBLIGATION <ul><li>Everyone who wants it deserves it </li></ul><ul><li>Some will take it </li></ul><ul><li>Changes moral narratives </li></ul><ul><li>Has to be honest </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We will do everything we can </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Limited resources and effectiveness don’t change the core fact that the violence is completely unacceptable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teny Gross: “We don’t negotiate life” </li></ul></ul>
  23. 25. DIRECT ENGAGEMENT <ul><li>You have to communicate with the groups </li></ul><ul><li>“ Forums”: group members who happen to be on probation – way of communicating city-wide with most or all groups at once. Not about the people in the room (Boston ) </li></ul><ul><li>Community call-ins, individual offenders on parole/probation (Chicago) </li></ul><ul><li>Community call-ins of identified offenders, voluntary with hook (High Point model) </li></ul><ul><li>Purely voluntary: Cincinnati, Providence, others </li></ul>
  24. 26. CORE THEMES IN MESSAGE <ul><li>It has to stop. End of story. It’s wrong, it hurts, you’re better than this, you don’t like it, we don’t want to live like this any more </li></ul><ul><li>Your community and loved ones need it to stop </li></ul><ul><li>You are hugely important and valuable </li></ul><ul><li>The ideas of the street code are wrong </li></ul><ul><li>We will do everything we can to help you </li></ul><ul><li>We will stop you if you make us </li></ul><ul><li>None of us like how we have been living; we all want to change </li></ul>
  25. 29. COMMON GROUND <ul><ul><li>Everyone wants the community to be safe </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Everyone wants the most dangerous offenders controlled </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Everyone wants the least amount of law enforcement possible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Everyone wants those who want help to get it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Everyone can shift together </li></ul></ul>
  26. 30. NATIONAL NETWORK FOR SAFE COMMUNITIES <ul><li>www.nnscommunities.org </li></ul>