Attempting to reduce firearms violence through a Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative (CAGI): An evaluation of process and impact

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Attempting to reduce firearms violence through a Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative (CAGI): An evaluation of process and impact

Category: Crime, Homicide, Injury|Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice (full text)|Author: C Melde, E McGarrell, J Cobbina, N Corsaro, N Hipple, T Bynum|Year: 2013

Purpose

This study examines the Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative (CAGI) implemented across 12 U.S. jurisdictions.

 

Methods

Annual firearm homicide trends are examined in a balanced panel regression framework in order to test whether CAGI cities experienced changes in gun homicide (i.e., a gang violence proxy) between pre- and post-intervention, and accounting for cross-city program dosage, relative to shifts in comparable non-CAGI cities.

 

Results

CAGI cities experienced a significant decline in gun homicide rates post-intervention. Inclusion of CAGI dosage measures suggested a modest though specific effect of law enforcement on gun homicide rates relative to comparable US cities. However, there was no indication of sustained law enforcement or target city impact, which suggests several limitations with the CAGI framework as applied in practice.

 

Conclusions

The evidence of limited impact suggests several points. First, comprehensive gang funding should be prioritized for jurisdictions at the highest risk of gang violence. Second, given difficulties in implementation, efforts like CAGI would benefit from a planning period that would allow for the establishment of intensive and timely prevention and re-entry programs to run in conjunction with suppression activities. Third, much greater investment and attention to building reliable and valid measures of gang crime are needed.

 

Highlights

► CAGI cities experienced a lagged decline in gun homicide. ► There was evidence of a contemporaneous enforcement effect on gun homicide. ► The impact on gun homicide was modest and did not appear to be sustained. ► Most CAGI jurisdictions could not provide reliable estimates of gang crime. ► Most sites had difficulty implementing a coordinated, comprehensive program.

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