What Happens When Community Violence Intervention Gets the Support it Needs to Thrive?

The Appeal

As cities look to make new investments in non-police responses to gun violence, the Bull City United program in Durham, North Carolina, shows the importance of stable funding and sustained commitment.

In April 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice released a report on violence in Durham, North Carolina, which found that young Black and Latino men in the community were between five and six times more likely to be murdered than the average resident. The city had requested the study following years of concern about high gun violence rates, which had been trending upward even as other violent crimes and the overall crime rate were declining.

The Justice Department study identified a troubling pattern in the bloodshed. A huge share of the city’s gun-related homicides and assaults were occurring in the same neighborhoods—primarily communities of color that suffered from high levels of poverty. And at the same time that young men were being killed and injured at high rates, many of those responsible were being funneled into the prison system, thus getting entrapped in another form of violence: mass incarceration.

This story was produced with support from The Academy for Justice at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.