Many criminologists blame the pandemic and its societal and economic disruptions for the spike in homicides over the past couple of years. “It’s not that the whole society fell apart,” says Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “It’s just that there are enough people who were already living on the edge, and this pushed them off of it.”
. “It reminds me of the 1990s, in the sense that every incident of violence becomes a major news story,” said Jeffrey Butts, director of the research and evaluation center at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
“There’s a whole garden of approaches, with different styles and modalities and theories of change,” says Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. “What’s new, or seems new, is that we’ve reached the point that relying on law enforcement for all of our public safety problems became too obviously problematic.”
Professor Jeffrey Butts, the director of John Jay College’s Research and Evaluation Center, said that in some respects conservatives and liberals are on the same page with gun control. "The far left and the far right are actually pitching the same story," he said.
The key, we heard over and over again, is to have cops work in tandem with community-based “violence interrupters” — credible messengers from troubled communities who have the savvy and connections to quietly intervene at critical moments and persuade gang members, dope dealers, and other weapon-carriers not to resort to violence.
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.
"[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."
“The evidence is mixed,” Butts, who led the 2015 review and subsequent research on interrupters, said. “We need to do more studies.”
“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.”
“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.”
"We were already in a weakened condition when the pandemic hit -- class divisions, overt racism, partisanship, a really poor social support infrastructure -- so if you think about the effect of the pandemic on an 'epidemic' of shootings -- it's like the immune system of the United States was already suppressed," Jeffrey Butts, director of the research and evaluation center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told ABC News.
"I'm an older white guy. I'm going to stop, I don't feel threatened," said Jeffrey Butts, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "There are people whose rational expectation is that (the stop) puts them in danger. They're going to have different response. It's amazing to me that we haven't confronted that and individual police officers don't think about that. They're just shocked and angered by someone daring to not comply."
Experts caution that while law enforcement is a vital part of public safety, police should be one part in a larger package of solutions. There are well-tested methods that decrease violence, but implementing them at scale will require patience, nuance, and a willingness to think past political narratives.
There appears to be little, if any, organized opposition to raising the age of delinquency. But those who resist say doing so would hamstring the legal system, according to Jeffrey A. Butts, the director of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Research and Evaluation Center. In rare cases involving a particularly dangerous child, he said, incarceration may prevent them from being a risk to others.
Some experts have detected some promising signs in recent crime data. In New York City, more than 500 people have been shot this year — the highest number in a decade and up more than 50 percent over the same period in 2020. But Jeffrey Butts, director of the research and evaluation center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said that percentage was better than the 158 percent increase in shootings reported last fall in the city, suggesting that the surge in violence, while still up, may be declining.
Restaurants, stores, offices, theaters and many other businesses and cultural institutions will be allowed to open fully May 19. But the cycles of violent retaliation fueled by individual shootings in recent months will be hard to break, said Jeffrey Butts, the director of the research and evaluation center at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Butts cautioned against inferring cause and effect or making substantial policy changes in response to what could turn out to be a temporary variation. The wide range of communities in which increases in homicides occurred indicates the trend has relatively little to do with local policies and conditions.
In 2020, shootings in New York City were up more than eighty per cent. Working with high-school students, Shaina Harrison is on a mission to stem the carnage. by Ian Frazier March 29, 2021 ... N.Y.A.G.V. has successfully lobbied the state legislature to pass major gun-safety measures. A law now requires that all guns in homes … Continue reading The New Yorker — Fighting America’s Gun Plague
“I would guess both numbers are about fear. Fear of crime has fallen with the declining rate of serious crime, while the public has learned more about the harm that can result from excessive punishment,” said Jeffrey A. Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “Similarly, the NRA and other gun merchants have been using fear of government to sell firearms and impede reforms.”
Violent crimes committed by juveniles rose a precipitous 64 percent from 1980 to 1994 according to a March 2002 study by the Urban Institute’s Jeffrey Butts and Jeremy Travis. This figure includes forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, but to underscore the horror of this era, arrests for murder alone “jumped 99 percent during that time.”
[Cure Violence workers] “try to stop the cycle of retaliation, and because they are not seen as an extension of law enforcement, the people most likely to be walking around with handguns in their pocket will talk to them and will allow them to settle a dispute before it turns violent,” said Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Such notions, says Jeffrey Butts, the director of the Research and Evaluation Center at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, may skew the violence-intervention focus too far into short-term preventive tactics driven by law enforcement.
First, the vast majority of gun crimes are handled by state courts, not federal courts, said Jeffrey A. Butts, director of the Research & Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. So Trump is talking about a small piece of the issue.