Gun Violence

In cities across America, communities face high rates of gun violence and significant harm caused by the criminal justice system – both of which disproportionately impact communities of color.

Our nation’s public safety crisis is a gun violence crisis, and for some communities, this crisis is worse than ever before. In fact, in 2020, Black Chicagoans experienced more homicides per resident than any year on record. This violence was heavily concentrated: in 2020, the gun homicide rate in Chicago’s four most violent police districts was 26 times higher than in the four safest police districts. In 1991, the rate for those same districts was 13 times higher — meaning the safety gap has doubled in Chicago’s most vulnerable neighborhoods since the 1990s.

There is reason for hope that we can turn the tide: From the peak of the early ‘90s to 2019, Los Angeles and New York have slashed their homicide rates by 77% and 88%, respectively.

The Crime Lab works with cities and community-based groups to generate evidence on interventions that prevent gun violence, including increasing public access to gun violence data, implementing behavioral science-informed interventions, and connecting individuals with employment, housing, and other supports.

Our evaluation of READI Chicago found that participants referred to the program by outreach workers in their community were 79% less likely to be arrested for shootings and homicides.

In partnership with the City of Chicago and dozens of community organizations, the Crime Lab created the Violence Reduction Dashboard, which led the nation in providing unprecedented public access to near real-time data on gun violence.

Related Projects
CVI Leadership Academy
CURRENT

CVI Leadership Academy

The Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy (CVILA) was established to develop the CVI sector by providing aspiring CVI leaders with the skills necessary to tackle leadership obstacles throughout their careers.

Policing Leadership Academy
CURRENT

Policing Leadership Academy

The Policing Leadership Academy (PLA) is designed to increase safety and fairness in America’s most violent neighborhoods.

Community Safety Leadership Academies
CURRENT

Community Safety Leadership Academies

The Community Safety Leadership Academies, composed of the Policing Leadership Academy and Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy, aim to rigorously train the next generation of policing and community violence intervention leaders.

Supporting Enlace Chicago and New Life Centers with Data-Driven Proactive Outreach
CURRENT

Supporting Enlace Chicago and New Life Centers with Data-Driven Proactive Outreach

Using a data-driven approach, the Crime Lab provides individual referrals to help outreach organizations Enlace Chicago and New Life Centers target their services to people who may be at the highest risk for gun violence involvement in the near future.

Related Resources
Economic Club of Chicago- Chicago’s Safety Snapshot: Issues and Opportunities
Presentation

Economic Club of Chicago- Chicago’s Safety Snapshot: Issues and Opportunities

Sep 2023

These slides were presented by the Crime Lab at a forum hosted by the Economic Club and Commercial Club of Chicago.

Violence Reduction Dashboard
Dashboard

Violence Reduction Dashboard

Jul 2023
Webinar: Overview of the City of Chicago’s Violence Reduction Dashboard
Video

Webinar: Overview of the City of Chicago’s Violence Reduction Dashboard

Jul 2023

Launched in May 2021 by the City of Chicago, with design and technical support from the Crime Lab, the Dashboard is a first-of-its-kind comprehensive tool that allows unfettered public access to city violence trends categorizable by victim type, date, and geographic area.

Machine Learning Can Predict Shooting Victimization Well Enough To Help Prevent It
Academic Paper

Machine Learning Can Predict Shooting Victimization Well Enough To Help Prevent It

May 2023

This National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper shows that shootings are predictable enough to be preventable.

Latest Updates

The Gun Violence Prevention Forum
Event
Northwell Health
Feb 2024

The Gun Violence Prevention Forum

Crime Lab Director of Programs Kim Smith spoke at the 5th Annual Gun Violence Prevention Forum on February 27, 2024. This virtual event mobilized the collective efforts of leading executives, clinicians, researchers, and policymakers around gun violence as a public health emergency.

Faith leaders: City Hall must step up to the plate and provide more funding for violence prevention
Op-Ed
Chicago Tribune
Feb 2024

Faith leaders: City Hall must step up to the plate and provide more funding for violence prevention

Michael Pfleger, Otis Moss III, Seth Limmer, and Ciera Bates-Chamberlain comment on the importance of funding community violence intervention (CVI) initiatives and point to the Crime Lab’s CVI Leadership Academy as a shining example, whose inaugural cohort was recognized by Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House.

Advocate, activist and healer: Myesha Watkins is trying to make Cleveland safer
Media Mention
Cleveland.com
Feb 2024

Advocate, activist and healer: Myesha Watkins is trying to make Cleveland safer

Cleveland.com’s Molly Walsh highlights CVILA graduate Myesha Watkins’ visit to the White House as a part of the graduation of the CVILA’s inaugural cohort. Watkins is the executive director of the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance, a crime prevention organization that focuses on helping communities become healthier environments to reduce violence.