Interrupters Strategy Takes Hold With NOPD!!!

The City of New Orleans is implementing the CeaseFire program now. As the project moves forward, it will employ interrupters who are either ex-offenders or former gang members, to reach members of the community who are most likely to shoot or be shot. These individuals will intervene when there is the potential for violence to arise, mediate high-risk conflict situations and prevent retaliatory violence.

PBS Interrupters Poster

PBS Interrupters Poster

In September of 2011, Mayor Mitch Landrieu held a Crime Action Summit where he dedicated $250,000 to the “Ceasefire” program in New Orleans.

CeaseFire Illinois Logo

CeaseFire Illinois Logo

Initial funding for CeaseFire New Orleans was made possible through a Council appropriation for justice innovation, and the Council is working with the administration to finalize a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) with Baptist Community Ministries, which will administer the funds. Cary Grant, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer, indicated at today’s Council meeting that these funds are available and that a final draft of the CEA is being prepared for signatures.

I think this is a brilliant idea.  It’s highly efficient, since it reaches the problem at its source, the people most likely to be shot or do the shooting. Also, it’s a cost effective methodology. However, I believe that a long term solution to the black on black crime problem is cultural.

In 2000, the CeaseFire Model was launched in West Garfield, the most violent community in Chicago at the time. CeaseFire produced a 67 percent reduction in shootings in its first year.

CeaseFire received additional funding from the State of Illinois in 2004 to immediately expand from 5 to 15 communities and from 20 to 80 Outreach Workers. That year, homicides declined in Chicago by 25 percent, to a total of 448 homicides, a rate of 15.5 homicides per 100,000 residents

Since 2005, CeaseFire has been providing a hospital-based violence prevention response to violently injured patients from the south and southwest side of Chicago at Advocate Christ Medical Center. The success of the Advocate Christ program led, in 2011, to the creation of a second hospital-based violence prevention program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, a level-1 trauma center that treats approximately 1,000 trauma patients annually.

Tio Hardman, Director for CeaseFire Illinois with his Wife Alison

Tio Hardiman, Director for CeaseFire Illinois with his wife Alison

Here’s a video of the Stephen Colbert Show featuring Chicago Interrupter Ameena Matthews, click on the link below.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Ameena Matthews
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

CeaseFire’s founder and executive director, Gary Slutkin, is an epidemiologist and a physician who for 10 years battled infectious diseases in Africa. He says that violence directly mimics infections like tuberculosis and AIDS, and so, he suggests, the treatment ought to mimic the regimen applied to these diseases: go after the most infected, and stop the infection at its source.

From the CeaseFire Illinois site-

CeaseFire is a unique, interdisciplinary, public health approach to violence prevention. We maintain that violence is a learned behavior that can be prevented using disease control methods. Using proven public health techniques, the model prevents violence through a three-prong approach:

  1. Identification & detection
  2. Interruption, Intervention, & risk reduction
  3. Changing behavior and norms

CeaseFire is a data-driven model. Through a combination of statistical information and street knowledge we identify where we concentrate our efforts, focus our resources, and intervene in violence. This data guides us to the communities most impacted. It provides a picture of those individuals at the highest-risk for violence. And, most importantly, it shows us how we can intervene.


Since the founding of the organization in 2000, the murder rate in Chicago has dropped from 628 that year to 435 in 2010 — the lowest it has been in 45 years.

In May 2008, Professor Wesley G. Skogan, an expert on crime and policing at Northwestern University, completed a three-year, independent, Department of Justice-funded report on CeaseFire, which found that the program successfully reduced shootings and killings by 41% to 73%. Actual and attempted shootings were reduced 16% to 28% in 4 of the 7 sites studied.  Retaliatory shootings were reduced 100% in 5 of the 7 communities examined in the report.

Daniel Webster, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, advocates for such an interventionist approach to violent crime, believing the benefits of Ceasefire’s intercession are many. On, Webster said, Violence is reciprocal. Stopping one homicide through mediation could buy you peace for months down the road.

~ by neworleansmusicman on February 27, 2012.

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