205155 Street outreach to prevent gun violence in Baltimore: An analysis of high-risk conflict mediation

Monday, November 9, 2009: 11:00 AM

Jennifer S. Mendel , Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Daniel W. Webster, ScD, MPH , Center for Injury Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Jon S. Vernick, JD, MPH , Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Background/Purpose: Baltimore's Safe Streets initiative is a gun violence prevention program modeled after CeaseFire Chicago. Overseen by Baltimore City Health Department, local organizations conduct community mobilization, public education, and outreach to change social norms and behaviors that support violence. Outreach Workers (OWs) mentor high-risk youth, make referrals for services, and mediate conflicts. Preliminary evaluation data indicates that the program has reduced homicides in one neighborhood where it was implemented. Conflict mediation is an essential to achieving this outcome. Violence prevention efforts can benefit from improved understanding of street conflicts and the actions taken to stop shootings.

Methods: Conflict mediation reports will be analyzed to determine the catalysts (e.g. drugs, women, feeling disrespected, etc.), how outreach workers became aware of the conflict, number of persons involved, whether gangs and/or weapons were involved, and actions taken by outreach workers. Bivariate and regression analyses will be used to assess how mediation strategies vary depending on the situation.

Results/Outcomes: Outreach workers attempted to mediate over 100 conflicts. The ways OWs learn about imminent conflicts and conflict characteristics, including what triggered the conflict, number of persons involved, gang and weapon involvement, and the actions taken by outreach workers will be described. Associations between conflict characteristics and OW intervention strategies will be reported.

Conclusion: Conflict mediation is a key aspect of community-based violence prevention programs like Safe Streets. This paper will help identify the characteristics of conflicts that OWs mediate and the general strategies they use to intervene.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the characteristics of street level conflicts that outreach workers attempt to mediate. 2. Describe at least three ways in which outreach workers intervene to mediate conflicts.

Keywords: Youth Violence, Outreach Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.