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Role of Two Categories of Outreach Workers in High-risk Conflict Mediation to Stop Neighborhood Shootings and Killings

Tio Hardiman, MA, Tim Metzger, MUPP, and Gary Slutkin, MD. Chicago Project for Violence Prevention, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1603 W. Taylor, Chicago, IL 60612, 312-355-31581, tioh@uic.edu

The Chicago Project for Violence Prevention (CeaseFire) is a strategic public health effort to stop violence, specifically shootings and killings. The Project works with community organizations, outreach workers, law enforcement, and faith leaders to develop neighborhood strategies to reduce community violence. The public health strategy of the Chicago Project emphasizes the ability to intervene in situations that would likely result in violence and provide specific alternatives for a resolution of the immediate situation, to move individuals out of lifestyles that typically lead to violence (gangs, drugs), and to change norms. This paper will explore the work done to mediate conflicts by CeaseFire outreach workers and “violence interrupters”, to determine the types of conflicts mediated and the outcomes achieved. Outreach workers engage high risk youth with positive alternatives and connect them with resources, while “violence interrupters” work primarily with gang leaders to mediate inter-gang disputes that are likely to turn violent. Central to this analysis is whether conclusions related to the prevention of shootings can be drawn. There were 152 conflicts mediated by CeaseFire in 2004, 76 by 79 Outreach Workers and 76 by 10 Violence Interrupters. There were 345 conflicts mediated by CeaseFire in 2005, 145 by 42 Outreach Workers and 200 by 26 Violence Interrupters. Based on preliminary analysis, 65% of these conflicts were gang related, 76% involved a weapon, 38% were in retaliation to a previous event, and 90% were thought to have led to a shooting without intervention. In 2004, approximately 64% of conflicts were resolved.

Learning Objectives:

Related Web page: www.ceasefirechicago.org

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Youth Violence Posters

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA