David M. Kennedy Bio David M. Kennedy is the Director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. He directed the Boston Gun Project, whose “Operation Ceasefire” intervention was responsible for a more than sixty per cent reduction in youth homicide victimization. His work has won two Ford Foundation Innovations in Government awards, two Webber Seavey Awards from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Herman Goldstein International Award for Problem-Oriented Policing. He was awarded the 2011 Hatfield Scholar Award for scholarship in the public interest. He helped develop the High Point Drug Market Intervention strategy; the Justice Department’s Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative; the Treasury Department’s Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative; the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Drug Market Intervention Program; and the High Point Domestic Violence Intervention Program.
David M. Kennedy is the co-chair of the National Network for Safe Communities, an alliance of more than 60 cities and jurisdictions actively implementing the Center’s strategies and dedicated to reducing crime, reducing incarceration, and addressing the racial conflict associated with traditional crime policy.
David M. Kennedy is the author of Deterrence and Crime Prevention: Reconsidering the Prospect of Sanction, co-author of Beyond 911: A New Era for Policing, and a wide range of articles on gang violence, drug markets, domestic violence, firearms trafficking, deterrence theory, and other public safety issues. His latest book, Don’t Shoot, One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America was published by Bloomsbury in September 2011.
‘Don’t Shoot’ Overview
Gang- and drug-related inner-city violence, with its attendant epidemic of incarceration, is the defining crime problem in our country. In some neighborhoods in America, one out of every two hundred young black men is shot to death every year, and few initiatives of government and law enforcement have made much difference. But when David Kennedy, a self-taught and then-unknown criminologist, engineered the "Boston Miracle" in the mid-1990s, he pointed the way toward what few had imagined: a solution.
Don't Shoot tells the story of Kennedy's long journey. Riding with beat cops, hanging with gang members, and stoop-sitting with grandmothers, Kennedy found that all parties misunderstood each other, caught in a spiral of radicalized anger and distrust. He envisioned an approach in which everyone-gang members, cops, and community members-comes together in what is essentially a huge intervention. Offenders are told that the violence must stop, that even the cops want them to stay alive and out of prison, and that even their families support swift law enforcement if the violence continues. In city after city, the same miracle has followed: violence plummets, drug markets dry up, and the relationship between the police and the community is reset.
This is a landmark book, chronicling a paradigm shift in how we address one of America's most shameful social problems. A riveting, page-turning read, it combines the street vérité of The Wire, the social science of Gang Leader for a Day, and the moral urgency and personal journey of Fist Stick Knife Gun. But unlike anybody else, Kennedy shows that there could be an end in sight.
August 28, 2013 Op-ed in Detroit News
by Barbara McQuade Ceasefire Detroit: The start of a new era1 Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced a new “Smart on Crime” initiative. A key component of the initiative is prevention of violent crime.
Here in Detroit, a new violent crime prevention strategy called Ceasefire Detroit began on Thursday. The community-led program is part of the plan developed by the Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, formed under the White House’s national forum. Ceasefire Detroit is enforced by Detroit One, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement and the community to reduce homicide and violent crime in Detroit.
Ceasefire has been successful in other parts of the country, including Boston and Cincinnati. Developed by Professor David M. Kennedy of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, Ceasefire works to reduce gang violence. Prof. Kennedy is bringing the program to Detroit under a Justice Department grant. The pilot program will cover the geographic area of the Detroit Police Department’s Eastern District.
Here is how Ceasefire Detroit works. Violent street group members on parole or probation are called in to meetings as a condition of their release. There, they meet with three sets of participants. First, law enforcement officials, including prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's office, explain to the street groups that continued violence will result in prosecution and stiff prison sentences. Second, social service providers describe services that are available under re-entry programs to help street group members succeed outside of prison, such as job training programs, substance abuse counseling, and bus transportation, for example.
But the key component that makes Ceasefire unique is the third meeting component, comprised of residents of the street group members’ own communities — clergy, ex-offenders and families of victims of violent crime. These residents describe in graphic and personal terms the consequences of violence in their neighborhood, and insist that the street group members help stop the violence.
It is this expression of community outrage against the violence that makes Ceasefire so successful. As Prof. Kennedy says, even criminals care about kids and grandmothers.
The community-led program is part of a plan developed by a local team called the Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, formed under President Barack Obama's National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, which includes Detroit and nine other cities. The U.S. Attorney's Office co-chairs Ceasefire Detroit, which is enforced by Detroit One, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement and the community to reduce homicide and violent crime in Detroit.
Ceasefire has been successful in other parts of the country, including Boston and Cincinnati.
The statistics show that the program works.
Upon introducing Ceasefire, the homicide rate in Boston went down by 60 percent and in Cincinnati by 41 percent. Kennedy’s theory is that most street violence is driven by small groups of high-rate offenders, such as gangs and drug crews. Most of the violence comes from rivalries and friction between these groups. Reaching out directly to these groups, letting them know they are being watched, providing alternatives to the cycle of violence, and, most importantly, telling them that they are tearing apart families and ruining lives, makes an impact unlike any enforcement effort can.
The street group members often heed the one voice they have never heard before — the moral voice of the community.