Jeffrey Butts, who runs the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College, says setting up cure violence programs in a way that generates evidence of what methods work to reduce shootings will be essential going forward...
Jeffrey Butts said the fact that America is awash with guns -- there are an estimated 400 million of them in the country, more than the population -- makes it prone to deadly violence.
“They should not operate in hostility to law enforcement…but they need to operate almost autonomously,” said Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. “If the neighborhood starts to think that these programs are in cahoots with law enforcement, the young people in the neighborhood will stop talking to the workers.”
The New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice invited the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (JohnJayREC) to collaborate in the SIPPRA effort.
New York City officials responded to adverse conditions in NYCHA developments by launching the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety in 2014. The initiative was designed to enhance the social and physical environment of housing developments in ways that improve public safety.
"If it's just supposed to send a message to that kid and all other people that we take this seriously and we're not going to stand for this behavior, therefore we're punishing you, then it accomplishes that purpose." But Butts says if the idea is to improve public safety or prevent future crime, decades of research show that is rarely the result.
Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, is evaluating two crime reduction initiatives at the behest of New York City, which has been investing in a targeted focus on people involved in gun violence. They found the organizations funded through the city’s Office of Criminal Justice "don’t have enough information" because programs "aren’t asked to generate or collect data." "Everyone is running around doing what they think is right,” he said. “Every neighborhood says they know their people, their guys, their culture. But that makes it impossible to say whether the program itself is responsible for improvements in public safety.”
"[Violence interrupters] are from the same streets, grew up in the same areas and had the same experiences as young people and so they just have more access and access means influence," said Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "The possibility of influencing someone's behavior and attitude is stronger if you come at them as an equal."
Shootings in New York City remain a serious concern, and the most recent from NYPD data show different areas of the city are experiencing different trends.
Jeffrey Butts interviewed as part of a story covering the release of a new report from New Jersey Policy Perspective.
Jeffrey Butts joined Yuripzy Morgan on WBAL News Radio in Baltimore, where City officials are launching new efforts to reduce community violence.
Jeffrey Butts joins Amos Gelb and LaTrina Antoine with WYRP host Tom Hall in a discussion about the effectiveness of violence interruption programs.
On the September 19, 2021 episode of City Watch on WBAI 99.5 FM, Host Jeff Simmons focused on gun violence prevention with guests: Erica Ford, Founder and CEO of Life Camp Inc., New York City Councilmember Adrienne Adams, and Dr. Jeffrey Butts, Research Professor and Director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
I often wonder, how did we get here — ending August with 357 homicides, on track to be our deadliest year recorded for shooting deaths?... Other cities, like New York and Oakland, Calif., have been where we are today but made improvements. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. A report published last year by John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Research and Evaluation Center, authored by a diverse group of academic consultants, lays out a framework for action I believe we can apply in Philadelphia.
“The evidence is mixed,” Butts, who led the 2015 review and subsequent research on interrupters, said. “We need to do more studies.”
Jeffrey Butts said that while he is encouraged by1 the Biden administration's public commitment to gun violence research, long hobbled by years of underfunding at the federal level, more attention needs to be paid to community-based programs that don't rely on police intervention.
“The Brooklyn recovery seems more striking than other boroughs,” Dr. Butts said. “The Brooklyn spike is horrendous when you look at it over time. But the most recent quarter, the data point is back to where it’s been bouncing around for the past 15 years.”
New York City’s Cure Violence programs found shootings and gun injuries dropped in two neighborhoods where such programs were in place between 2013 and 2017, according to an evaluation led by Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Shooting trends in New York City remain a serious concern, but these quarter-specific, one-year differences declined for three straight quarters.
Dr. Jeffrey Butts is the lead researcher at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which was commissioned by the city to assess the effectiveness of its anti-violence initiatives. Butts said police intervention is only the first step and societal factors must also be addressed.
“Sadly, I’ve dedicated my life to using facts and data to influence crime policy. I don’t think we’re any better at it than we were 30 years ago,” Butts said. He has seen both Democrats and Republicans try to use crime stats to scare voters. It’s hard to stop them because “politics was way out ahead of information and the facts.”
Jeffrey Butts interviewed by NBC News for a story about community-based violence prevention efforts in New York City.
Progressive-minded criminologists like Roman or Butts are boosters of community antiviolence intervention programs such as the Cure Violence model, in which more mature people from the neighborhood work as “violence interrupters” and seek to mediate disputes or defuse tensions before they get out of hand.
Interview on the Matt McNeil Show in Minneapolis.
Jeffrey Butts interviewed as part of a story about recent gun violence trends in the United States.