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Chicago-based violence interruption program appears to be working in St. Louis

Friday, Jan 14, 2022

* St. Louis had the highest per capital murder rate in the country in 2019. So, this is good news

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones is crediting an intervention program known as Cure Violence for helping to reduce the city’s homicides by more than 25% in 2021.

“We all want to feel safe in our neighborhoods,” Jones said Thursday at a press conference trumpeting the program. “The Missouri Legislature prevents our city from making common-sense gun laws. So we have to look at other tools at our disposal to prevent violent crime.”

Despite the big drop, at least 195 people were still killed in the city, a number that Jones acknowledged is unacceptable.

“Cure Violence isn’t a silver bullet. It was never built to be a silver bullet,” she said. “But it is one piece of a larger holistic strategy.”

The Chicago-based program trains people who live in areas with high crime rates to intervene in conflicts. The goal is to prevent disagreements from escalating to violent crime, and to provide social services such as job training to neighborhood residents. […]

Overall, homicides were down 26% in the city from 2020 to 2021. In four of the five Cure Violence locations, homicides dropped at a rate higher than the overall decrease: 42% in Hamilton Heights, 70 percent in Wells-Goodfellow, 50% in Walnut Park East and 80% in Walnut Park West.

* Meanwhile, here’s the Tribune

At the end of a year that saw at least 800 homicides in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot last month wrote to the Cook County chief judge with a request: Judges should immediately stop ordering certain defendants to await trial at home with an electronic-monitoring ankle bracelet.

It would be a sweeping policy change intended to keep violent offenders securely behind bars, albeit with implications for thousands of people who would likely be kept in custody as their cases took months if not years to proceed.

But many of the claims and statistics related in her letter and repeated at a press conference earlier this month are misleading — and some are simply inaccurate, the Tribune has found after examining the cases highlighted by the mayor.

Her letter cites data showing that 15 people were arrested and charged with murder last year while they were on electronic monitoring, commonly known as EM. But in at least five of those cases, the homicides actually occurred before the defendant was on an ankle bracelet, according to the Tribune’s review. And in at least one of the 15 cases, the defendant was not actually charged with murder at all.

There’s more, so go read the rest.

* Related…

* Civic Federation: What the Data Tell us about Bail Reform and Crime in Cook County: Electronic monitoring should not be used as a replacement for high money bond amounts. In current practice, judges across the United States use high dollar amounts as a barrier to a criminal defendant’s pretrial release. In the new cashless system that takes effect in Illinois next year, there may be a potential for overreliance on imposing home electronic monitoring in cases where judges feel reluctant to release a defendant. However, based on the mixed research and lack of evidence of the effectiveness or appropriateness of electronic monitoring programs, electronic monitoring orders should be limited to only those cases that warrant close monitoring. Instead, judges should use other options available, such as pretrial supervision (periodic check-ins with a pretrial officer), which have been linked to more positive outcomes on defendants’ court appearances and not committing new crimes while on release.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

23 Comments »
  1. - Actual Red - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 9:08 am:

    From the evidence I’ve seen, violence interruption programs like Cure Violence just seem to be the only thing that works to reduce violence in the short term. The Mayor’s continued insistence on blaming bail practices without real evidence that that’s the problem is an unfortunate distraction.


  2. - JJJJJJJJJJ - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 9:29 am:

    This post is a great microcosm of a lot of criminal justice debates. Investing in communities has data to show it reduces violence. The reactionary response from the mayor does not. Over and over again this tends to be the case.

    Otherwise intelligent people just choose not to use evidence when talking about crime.


  3. - WestBurbs - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 9:30 am:

    Sorry if this comes off as a rant - but the Civic Fed report (which was well done) points out what, to me, is our biggest crime/criminal justice failure - treating illegal guns as non-violent and usually misdemeanors:

    “The majority of people on electronic monitoring were charged with non-violent weapon charges, most commonly unlawful possession of a firearm.”

    We need to stop categorizing UUW as “non-violent.” People who illegally carry guns are (almost) always carrying those guns to commit a crime. Sure, there is the rare non-criminal who carries for self defense and can’t afford to pay for a FOID/CC (about $300 $150 for the class and $150 for the license). But I suspect that is the low single digit % of UUW.

    When people say crime is up, or they are concerned about crime, what they usually mean (and rightly so) is gun crime - carjacking, armed robbery, armed rape, murder, shootings. But a big dent in the number of illegal guns and you put a big dent in crime.


  4. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 9:40 am:

    ===are (almost) always carrying those guns to commit a crime===

    You must not know too many folks on the South and West Sides.


  5. - Miso - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 9:41 am:

    In the 5th area, homicides rose 50%. I’m skeptical they merit all the credit for any decrease.


  6. - Miso - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 9:43 am:

    - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 9:40 am:

    ===are (almost) always carrying those guns to commit a crime===

    You must not know too many folks on the South and West Sides.

    He said “illegally carry,” Rich. He’s right.


  7. - Homebody - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 9:44 am:

    I’m with JJJJJJJJJJ on this. So many of the things that get regularly bandied about in the news or by politicians or the (gag) FOP are known to be completely irrelevant red herrings. The best long term solutions are investing in our communities.


  8. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 9:44 am:

    ===skeptical they merit all the credit for any decrease===

    Nobody said they should get all the credit for anything. Don’t argue like a child.


  9. - WestBurbs - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 9:51 am:

    Rich - while I wouldn’t call mysel an expert, I;m not a neophyte. I know many people on the S and W sides. And for many years my law practice included criminal defense. And I’m a (reasonably) strong supporter of the 2A, although I’ll admit to being skeptical about the value of widespread (legal) CC.

    But I’m always open to many avenues of reducing violent crime, including the intervention programs, and pumping money and resources into the community. I remain convinced, however, that carrying illegal guns is a huge driver of the crime problem and we need to push back on those who use either 2A or fear of overincarceration/racism to justify illegal carry


  10. - JJJJJJJJJJ - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 9:57 am:

    @WestBurbs

    Serious question here. Is there evidence to show that increasing the sentence will decrease the prevalence of illegal carry?

    I’m a broken record on this, but typically the likelihood of being caught is more of a deterrent than the severity of the sentence.


  11. - Homebody - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 10:04 am:

    == I’m a broken record on this, but typically the likelihood of being caught is more of a deterrent than the severity of the sentence. ==

    Keep shouting this from the rooftops. The academic studies on this have been consistent for decades, but getting it through people’s skulls is extremely difficult for some reason. Americans just love the carceral state and over punishment.


  12. - JJJJJJJJJJ - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 10:13 am:

    @Homebody

    And I mean no disrespect to @WestBurbs because his suggestion is milder than most.

    People intuitively believe sentence enhancements to be helpful. Or perhaps they want them to be. Or to be a bit cynical for a moment they don’t care if they are and just want the feeling that someone is doing something whether it’s truly effective or not. There’s some sort of satisfaction from it.

    But here I’ve broken my cardinal rule and began to analyze motivations…


  13. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 10:19 am:

    ===likelihood of being caught is more of a deterrent===

    I wonder if the lack of police helicopters might be a contributing reason. They sure seem to catch a lot of folks in LA that way. I bring this up because the ISP sent out this release yesterday…

    On Jan. 11, 2022, at approximately 11:33 p.m., the Illinois State Police Emergency Response Network (ISPERN) broadcasted information involving a vehicle fleeing the scene of an armed robbery in Calumet City, Illinois. The Illinois State Police Air Operations (AO) was able to locate and track the vehicle from Interstate 94 northbound at East Sibley Boulevard to the South Suburbs and back to Chicago. Two suspects exited the vehicle and attempted to flee the scene on foot. ISP units in the area quickly responded, and after a brief pursuit, were able to take two suspects into custody. One of the two suspects was taken into custody by K9 apprehension. A weapon was recovered during the incident. Both suspects were transported to the Cook County Jail.


  14. - Da big bad wolf - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 10:19 am:

    “But I suspect that is the low single digit % of UUW.”
    And I suspect it’s not. Pre McDonald vs Chicago, I knew all kinds of upstanding citizens that broke the law (and that law only) by carrying guns. Many of them were women. They did it out of safety concerns.


  15. - Da big bad wolf - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 10:20 am:

    “But I suspect that is the low single digit % of UUW.”

    And I suspect it’s not. Pre McDonald vs Chicago, I knew all kinds of upstanding citizens that broke the law (and that law only) by carrying guns. Many of them were women. They did it out of safety concerns.


  16. - WestBurbs - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 10:20 am:

    JJJJJJJJJJ - excellent question and one I struggle with all the time. Admittedly the evidence is thin. NY enacted (but didn’t really enforce) Guns=Prison but unclear whether the crime drop was that or stop and frisk. CT enacted and enforced a permit law that claims to have dropped homicide 40%.

    That said, enforcement of any punishment - even 30 days incarceration - may have a deterrent effect. What is NOT having any deterrent effect is knowing that you can carry illegally and avoid any material punishment.


  17. - cermak_rd - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 10:37 am:

    if homicides are over a certain threshold in a neighborhood I think there should be no material punishment for that crime for a person living in that neighborhood. At that point in time the police obviously cannot protect so the social contract has already been broken.


  18. - BC - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 10:53 am:

    == I wonder if the lack of police helicopters might be a contributing reason. ==

    This is an issue. CPD has two helicopters they operate jointly with the sheriffs office to cover the entire county. Combine that with the department’s cautious hot pursuit policy and you greatly reduce the chance of catching carjackers or any criminal fleeing in a vehicle. (Many cops will tell you CPD’s foot pursuit policy encourages runners, too.)

    The LA police Department has 17 choppers and the LA sheriff has 18. Chicago/Cook isn’t as big as LA so we don’t need that many, but the similar sized Houston PD/Harris County Sheriff combine for 14 helicopters.


  19. - Elmer Keith - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 11:12 am:

    “…there is the rare non-criminal who carries for self defense and can’t afford to pay for a FOID/CC…” Concealed carry is useless in Chicago if you have to travel by CTA bus or the El. See the testimony on Chicago cable TV from Elaine Nekritz’s Judiciary committee hearing held in the Bilandic building downtown in 2013, prior to passage of Brandon Phelps carry bill. Chris Welch questioned NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde about the Duty to Inform, where he admits NRA cut that deal with the police unions.

    On DTI, NRA & ISRA’s Richard Pearson pre-emptively groveled to the police unions. On public transpo carry, they put up a Brer Rabbit false support and then capitulated. The gun hicks don’t care how many black people get killed in poor Chicago neighborhoods, they just use black people like Otis McDonald as fronts for their lawsuits.


  20. - Annoyed - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 12:46 pm:

    Rich, agree that Illinois aviation is severely lacking. ISP only has 4 single engine planes now, down from 7. More aircraft, specifically low cost drones would allow tracking of criminals that CPD stops chasing. You could use Army Guard helicopters but the Feds charge a high hourly rate for state use.


  21. - Amalia - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 1:46 pm:

    like Rich’s thinking about helicopters. also wonder why Chicago won’t revisit drones. there is certainly a big brother aspect about all the technical tries on crime fighting…shotspotter 2 part story on BBC right now, very interesting and balanced including the Chicago anti shot spotters…..but if criminals are seen in action they can be caught more quickly. witness the two jokers selling the North Face merch they stole inside a Subway restaurant. when cops came there to retrieve the video of them selling the merch they were there AGAIN selling. which makes me want to be sure not to buy at Subway.


  22. - The Young Gov - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 2:17 pm:

    This, all day long:

    ==the likelihood of being caught is more of a deterrent than the severity of the sentence==

    What do law enforcement and detectives need to better arrest and solve crimes, other than the obvious turbo charge to trust with the communities hardest hit by poverty and violence?

    Related piece that gets us up close to what it feels like to have your family member’s homicde unsolved and what CPD could do more of to fix it: https://www.wbez.org/stories/chicago-murder-victim-families-helped-by-new-police-unit/3974d4fc-b7af-40de-922f-7fce40fe3eec


  23. - DuPage - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 3:57 pm:

    ===I wonder if the lack of police helicopters might be a contributing reason. They sure seem to catch a lot of folks in LA that way. I bring this up because the ISP sent out this release yesterday…===

    A couple years ago I saw a CPD chase live on 10 o’clock news. A news copter happened to run across it and zoomed in on it live. The fleeing car must have committed something serious to be trying to escape the police, and for the police to be chasing them at high speed. After a few minutes, the police called off the chase, they could not catch up to the fleeing car, and it was too dangerous to continue. Meanwhile, the TV copter easily kept up and recorded everything. If nothing else, the communication could be improved, like a hotline direct to a police communication center. That could be a great help to let police know in real time where the car went. The police could then catch up without a dangerous chase down city streets.


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