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A Major New Study Shows a Promising Solution to Gun Violence—That Doesn’t Involve Police – Mother Jones


Politics

A Major New Study Shows a Promising Solution to Gun Violence—That Doesn’t Involve Police – Mother Jones


Protesters, demanding more government action against gun violence, march to Chicago’s Wrigley Field in 2018.Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP

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Nearly two years after George Floyd’s murder sparked nationwide protests, Democratic mayors who once seemed sympathetic to reducing police brutality are now, more and more, pointing to law enforcement as a solution to the rising community gun violence around the country. New York’s Eric Adams, San Francisco’s London Breed, and Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot are among those who increasingly seem to be leaning on cops to stop shootings. “It’s time that the reign of criminals who are destroying our city…come to an end,” Breed said in a news conference in December, vowing more aggressive policing.

But a major new study—highlighted this weekend by the Chicago Sun-Times—provides some of the best evidence yet that these mayors should not turn their backs on other, non-policing solutions to gun violence. University of Chicago researchers looked at a mentoring program that serves men with extensive rap sheets who are at a high risk of shooting someone or being shot. During the 18-month READI Chicago program, the men, many of whom have been shot in the past, are paid $15 an hour to join daily job training and counseling sessions, activities that can get them off the streets and help them support their families without throwing them in jail.

Men who went through the program were two-thirds less likely to be arrested for a shooting.

The results have been impressive. The researchers followed 2,500 men who participated in the intensive program. This group was two-thirds less likely to be arrested for a shooting or homicide than a similar group of men who didn’t participate. The results were even more astonishing for guys who’d been recruited to the program by outreach workers: Their arrests dropped nearly 80 percent. And they were half as likely to be shot and killed themselves. That’s a lot of impact for a…



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