205701 Interim evaluation of Baltimore's Safe Streets initiative: Effects on gun violence

Monday, November 9, 2009: 10:45 AM

Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH , Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Jennifer S. Mendel , Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Jon S. Vernick, JD, MPH , Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
The Safe Streets program was designed and implemented in selected high-crime neighborhoods of Baltimore in an attempt to replicate Chicago's CeaseFire program. The program is designed to prevent gun violence through outreach to the highest-risk youth, mediation of conflicts, referrals to services, and community mobilization. We analyzed monthly trends in murders and nonfatal shootings by police post with data obtained from Baltimore police for posts in the top quartile in shootings during a 4-year baseline period. For our interim evaluation, only 1 of 4 program neighborhoods had sufficient post-program data to derive reliable estimates of effect. We used negative binomial regression models to control for baseline means for murders and nonfatal shootings, arrests for illegal weapons, arrests for drugs (lagged), and calendar month. Safe Streets was associated with a significant reduction in homicides (p<.001) in the first neighborhood implementing the program. There were no homicides in the neighborhood for the first 19 months of implementation. Using model estimates, we estimate that, with no program, there would have been 5 homicides during this time. Nonfatal shootings declined in the target neighborhood by 7%; however, shootings declined more (-23%) in comparison areas. We will present up-to-date evaluation data for a total of 3 intervention neighborhoods and discuss possible explanations for disparate findings for homicides and nonfatal shootings.

Learning Objectives:
Attendees will be able to evaluate the effects of the Safe Streets initiative on gun violence in selected Baltimore neighborhoods.

Keywords: Violence Prevention, Firearms

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I've studied gun violence prevention for nearly 20 years and was PI for the study.
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.