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Boston Gun Project: Impact Evaluation Findings

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2000
29 pages

This report presents findings from an impact evaluation of the Boston Gun Project, problem-oriented policing effort to reduce youth homicide and youth gun violence.


The research findings show that the Boston Gun Project was a beneficial problem-oriented policing effort. The principle intervention, Operation Ceasefire, was likely responsible for a substantial reduction in youth violence and youth gun violence in the city. Operation Ceasefire was constructed largely from the assets and capacities available in Boston at the time and deliberately tailored to the city's particular violence problem. The Boston Gun Project applied the basic principles of problem-oriented policing to a substantial public safety problem. Addressing this problem required the involvement of multiple agencies and the community, as well as substantial investments in analysis, coordination, and implementation. The experience of the Gun Project suggests that deploying criminal justice capacities to prevent crime can yield substantial benefits, and through this focused application of deterrence principles, Operation Ceasefire suggests a new approach to controlling violent offenders. Problem-oriented policing is seen as holding great promise for creating strong responses to crime, fear, and public safety problems. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Boston experienced an epidemic of youth homicide. To attack this epidemic, the Boston Gun Project was developed, a problem-oriented policing initiative, aimed at taking on this serious, large-scale crime problem homicide victimization among young people in Boston. The project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, began in early 1995 and implemented what is now known as the "Operation Ceasefire" intervention, which began in the late spring of 1996. A key component built into the Boston Gun Project was an evaluation on the impact of the Operation Ceasefire intervention on reducing youth homicide and youth gun violence. This report presents the findings from the evaluation. Without the support of a formal evaluation, Operation Ceasefire has been hailed in the media as an unprecedented success. 7 figures and 38 notes

Date Published: May 1, 2000