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Understanding and Preventing Violence, Research in Brief

NCJ Number
Date Published
11 pages
Publication Series
This report reviews the current status of research on the extent and causes of violence and promising approaches to violence prevention, based on the findings of the National Academy of Sciences Panel on the Understanding and Control of Violent Behavior.
The discussion notes that the level of violent crime has reached high, although not unprecedented levels. Between 1975 and 1989, harsher prison sentencing prevented some violent crimes through incapacitation and deterrence, but crime by persons still in the community offset those preventive effects. In addition to an effective criminal justice response, the strategy for violence reduction should include preventive interventions directed at the multiple factors affecting the risk of violence. Long-term prevention should include strategies directed toward children and their caregivers, interventions undertaken at the social and community level, and biomedical strategies in areas such as drug abuse by pregnant women. More immediate effects may be obtained by intervening in situations where violent events cluster, such as illegal drug markets, certain places where alcohol and firearms are readily available, and physical locations conducive to crime. Because evaluations are not yet conclusive enough to justify a single strategy, violence control policy should proceed through a problemsolving strategy in which many tactics that integrate efforts by criminal justice, social service, and community-based organizations are tested, evaluated, and refined. Figures and chart

Date Published: January 1, 1994