DC Accepted Papers Paper:
Community-Based Violence Prevention: The Potential Mechanisms of Black Community Cohesion and Implications for Public Policy
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Overreliance on the criminal justice system to address crime in urban black communities has resulted in negative social outcomes for black people in the United States and a lack of trust in law enforcement. Community-based policies are a possible alternative that can reduce crime and violence while improving overall community health, yet many community-based crime prevention efforts are not well understood. In particular, there are community-based organizations (CBO’s) in urban black areas working to specifically address crime and violence. Empirical data shows that CBO’s have played a significant role in the great crime decline of the past 20 – 30 years, but it’s unclear how. Community building through black community cohesion could be a potential framework through which to understand the violence reduction mechanisms that CBO’s employ in urban black neighborhoods. This paper reviews the existing literature on community-based violence prevention strategies in the United States, identifies current research gaps, and puts forth a preliminary hypothesis and research agenda.