In the quest for alternatives to police, interrupters simply aren’t a proven idea.

by German Lopez 
Vox
September 3, 2021

As progressives search for alternatives to traditional policing in the wake of the protests over George Floyd’s murder, one solution has gained prominence: violence interrupters.

For this approach, Groups like Cure Violence and Advance Peace recruit members of local communities, particularly people who have a history with gangs or violence, to act as mediators who can deescalate interpersonal conflicts before they turn violent.

… While some studies have found positive effects, they are few and far between and suffer from methodological flaws. Taken together, the research is decidedly mixed — and offers little proof that the programs live up to their promise.

The research on interrupters “is mixed, incomplete, and very difficult to do,” Jeffrey Butts, a researcher at John Jay College of Criminal Justice who has studied violence interrupters, told me.

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A July rally against gun violence in the South Bronx in New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images