Reducing Homicide Risk in Indianapolis between 1997 and 2000

GVPedia Study Database

Reducing Homicide Risk in Indianapolis between 1997 and 2000

Category: Homicide|Journal: Journal of Urban Health (full text)|Author: E McGarrell, N Corsaro|Year: 2010

Rates of homicide risk are not evenly distributed across the US population. Prior research indicates that young males in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods are particularly vulnerable to lethal violence. The traditional criminal justice response to violent crime in the urban context has the potential to exacerbate problems, particularly when broad-based arrest sweeps and general deterrence initiatives are the standard models used by law enforcement. Recent studies suggest that alternative intervention approaches that use both specific deterrence combined with improving pro-social opportunities has shown promise in reducing violent crime in these high-risk contexts. This paper examines the changes in homicide patterns for the highest-risk populations in Indianapolis after a “pulling levers” intervention was implemented in the late 1990s to address youth, gang, and gun violence. Multilevel growth curve regression models controlling for a linear trend over time, important structural correlates of homicide across urban neighborhoods, and between-neighborhood variance estimates showed that homicide rates involving the highest-risk populations (i.e., actors 15 to 24 years old) were most likely to experience a statistically significant and substantive reduction after the intervention was implemented (IRR = 0.48, 95% CI = 0.29 – 0.78). Among male actors in this age range, Black male homicide rates (IRR = 0.41, 95% CI = 0.25 – 0.70) and White male rates (IRR = 0.38, 95% CI = 0.15 – 0.79) declined substantially more than homicide rates involving actors outside the 15 to 24 years age range (IRR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.54 – 1.69). In addition, neighborhoods where specific, community-level strategies were implemented had statistically significant and substantive high-risk homicide rate declines. We conclude that further extension of the pulling levers framework appears warranted in light of the recent findings. Alternative justice strategies that rely on the threat of sanctions coupled with strengthening social service provisions, as well as risk communication aimed at high-risk individuals, appears to hold significant promise as a means to reduce lethal violence.

Share