New research conducted by Northwestern University has revealed that participants in the Chicago CRED (Create Real Economic Destiny) program, a community violence intervention (CVI) initiative, experienced substantial reductions in gun violence involvement. The study, led by the Center for Neighborhood Engaged Research and Science (CORNERS) at Northwestern, evaluated outcomes for individuals enrolled in the program and found that those who completed the full 24-month program were over 73% less likely to be arrested for a violent crime within two years of enrollment compared to non-participants.
The study analyzed a sample of 324 men recruited by CRED outreach staff between 2016 and 2021, comparing them with a balanced comparison sample of 2,500 men from a network of individuals arrested in CRED’s service areas. The researchers utilized Bayesian survival analysis to assess the impact of CRED on individual violence-related outcomes at different levels of program participation.
While the rate of firearms victimization remained statistically unchanged during the study period, CRED participants demonstrated a significant decrease in engagement with assaults, robberies, shootings, and other gun-related violence. The study emphasized that completing the full program yielded the best outcomes for participants, highlighting the importance of addressing neighborhood, social, economic, and educational factors that may act as barriers to program completion.
The findings of this first-of-its-kind study provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of CVI programs at the individual level and offer recommendations for improving outcomes. These include addressing barriers to program participation, scaling up initiatives like CRED to reach more individuals in need, and integrating CVI efforts with broader community-based strategies such as economic development and safety.