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Problem-Oriented Policing, Deterrence, and Youth Violence: An Evaluation of Boston's Operation Ceasefire

NCJ Number
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency Volume: 38 Issue: 3 Dated: August 2001 Pages: 195-225
Date Published
August 2001
31 pages

This article evaluates a problem-oriented policing intervention aimed at reducing youth homicide and youth firearms violence in Boston, MA.


Operation Ceasefire, part of the Boston Gun Project, was an innovative partnership between researchers and practitioners to assess Boston's youth homicide problem and implement an intervention designed to have a substantial near-term impact on the problem. Operation Ceasefire was based on a deterrence strategy that focused criminal justice attention on a small number of chronically offending gang-involved youth responsible for much of Boston's youth homicide problem. The Operation had two main elements: a direct law-enforcement attack on illicit firearms traffickers supplying youth with guns, and an attempt to generate a strong deterrent to gang violence. The second element included letting gang members know that violence would not be tolerated and would be dealt with by every legal means available. Simultaneously, streetworkers, probation and parole officers, churches, and other community groups offered services and help to gang members. The Ceasefire intervention was associated with a significant reduction in youth homicide victimization, shots-fired calls for service, and gun assault incidents. Figures, tables, notes, references

Date Published: August 1, 2001