How Effective Is A Violence Interruption Program?

CHARLOTTE, NC. — WCCB is digging deeper into the city’s plans to solve the violent crime issue following a deadly 2019. CMPD is recommending the city use a violence interruption program.

Cities that have implemented a violence interruption program have seen up to a 30% reduction in homicides. Each city has a slightly different model.

CMPD says the department may follow the program in St. Louis.

The non-profit Better Family Life started the St. Louis Metropolitan Area de-escalation team with yard signs in high crime areas. They say: “We Must Stop Killing Each Other ” and a number to a 24-hour hotline.

“Gives third party people a place to come, give us the information on the conflict and gives us the opportunity to go out, meet with the adversaries, meet with people in their circle of care. Grandmother, aunt and work to de-escalate the conflict,” says Vice President of Better Family Life James Clark.

This violence interruption program started in December 2016. It’s made up of retired St. Louis police officers, people who grew up in the neighborhoods, some have even been in prison. Clark says they have successfully de-escalated 125 conflicts.

Guns are involved in 80% of Charlotte’s homicides. CMPD says many murders happen because minor arguments between young men escalate. following 107 homicides last year.

Criminology professor Dr. Lyn Exum says research shows the  programs work.

“Help provide a voice or reason when emotions are running high among the parties involved,” says Dr. Exum.

Dr. Exum says the programs can cost millions of dollars to run. Adding there’s been some concern about paying ex- gang members or ex-cons a salary to do this.

The program in St. Louis is mostly funded by private corporations.