National anti-gun violence program largely successful, study finds

November 9, 2009

Project Safe Neighborhoods - a community-based policing effort launched in 2001 - has been largely successful in its goal of reducing violent crime, according to an analysis by Michigan State University, the national research and training partner of the federal initiative.

And, as an offshoot of the program, the U.S. Department of Justice recently awarded MSU $1 million in stimulus funding to expand a research and training program designed to eliminate illegal drug markets.

"One of the dynamics driving in the United States is open-air drug markets," said Ed McGarrell, lead researcher on the project and professor and director of MSU's School of Criminal Justice. "There's also a harmful community effect where this drug activity tends to create a lot of fear among local residents."

The Justice Department started Project Safe Neighborhoods eight years ago to reduce the level of across the country. Federal officials chose MSU's renowned criminal justice faculty to train local, state and federal law enforcement personnel on cutting-edge enforcement and prevention practices and to research and continually refine the community policing program.

The initiative stresses involvement from community groups and intervention into the lives of potential gun-crime victims and perpetrators, with possible assistance for vocational training, drug treatment and other needs, McGarrell said. The program is coordinated by the 94 U.S. Attorney offices nationwide.

In the 26 cities where the program was implemented rigorously, violent crime dropped by an average of 13 percent from 2000 to 2006, according to MSU's analysis. The 38 cities that did not implement the program thoroughly saw violent crime increase by an average of 8 percent.

MSU submitted its evaluation to the Justice Department earlier this year. Attorney General Eric Holder subsequently cited the results at the National Institute of Justice annual conference as reflective of the Justice Department's commitment to evidence-based practice.

"Project Safe Neighborhoods was a qualified success," McGarrell said, "in the sense that what it really demonstrated was that the program had a powerful impact when it was implemented effectively."

As the program progressed, officials in High Point, N.C., took a similar, community-based approach to permanently shutting down illegal drug markets. Building on that experience, and with MSU's guidance, 16 additional cities - from Atlanta to Middletown, Ohio, to Seattle - have similarly attacked the drug problem.

The $1 million grant from the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance will allow MSU to provide anti-drug market training to law enforcement personnel and community groups in 12 more cities, while continuing to research and refine the program. McGarrell said the cities have not yet been selected.

Lansing, Mich., received a $350,000 grant from the Department of Justice to implement its own anti-drug program, with MSU evaluating.

To date, MSU has landed about $5 million in Justice Department funding for the anti-gun violence and anti-drug initiatives. McGarrell said the programs embrace MSU's land-grant tradition of combining education, research and outreach - a full-circle approach designed to solve real-world problems.

He added that the School of Criminal Justice, which turns 75 next year, is the nation's oldest degree-granting criminal justice program.

"The community policing movement was largely begun through research by MSU faculty," McGarrell said. "We've always tried to be on the cutting-edge of new developments in the field of ."

Source: Michigan State University (news : web)

Explore further: Despite increased danger, youth gang members still feel safer (w/Video)

Related Stories

Research Raises Questions About ‘Policing for Profit’

July 29, 2008

( -- If a police officer stops a motorist and discovers cash and narcotics during the stop, the officer may have the authority to confiscate the car as an instrument of crime and the money as probable proceeds ...

Intervention reduces delinquent teenage pregancy rates

June 1, 2009

A program aimed at reducing criminal behavior in juvenile justice teens has yielded a surprising side benefit. The program is also reducing the teens' rate of pregnancy, according to a new study out this week.

Samsung fined $300M for conspiracy

October 14, 2005

Samsung Electronics was found guilty by the U.S. Department of Justice Thursday for conspiring to set prices on computer chips and fined $300 million.

Recommended for you


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2009
The conflation of anti-drug and anti-gun is complete, though one is an enumerated right. Gun control is about control and not about guns.
1 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2009
free advice Amerikans - exchange your incredibly liberal gun laws with your regressive drug laws - for one year - and tally the delta dead
not rated yet Nov 10, 2009
$1 million in stimulus funding

FFS, more stimulus money going towards temporary, low paying jobs with no product and no potential for immediate economic return. People, please wake up and get control of the Gov't, before we wake up and the Gov't has control of the People.

I agree we need to change our drug laws, that alone would be a boon for the economy and a bane to violent crime.

But I would recommend you consider REALITY regarding gun control in America. i.e. Given the fact that there are already guns in America (A LOT of them) and have been, well, as long as there has been an America, enacting regressive gun laws -as demonstrated by our nations Capital, Washington D.C.- will lead to higher murder and violent crime rates. i.e. It will be no harder for criminals to get guns, but civilians won't have them to protect their homes and families.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.