Symposium: 21st Century Violence Reduction Strategies

A hammer and gavel, representing Justice.

In December 2016, the OJP Diagnostic Center hosted the Symposium on 21st Century Violence Reduction Strategies in Phoenix, Arizona addressing comprehensive, collaborative and effective prevention-oriented approaches to violent crime reduction. The event convened nearly two-hundred key stakeholders from state, local and federal law enforcement agencies, probation and parole organizations, United States Attorneys and court practitioners from twenty communities across the United States.  

The two-day Symposium featured workshops and plenary sessions geared towards assisting communities in developing and strengthening current violence reduction action plans in addressing violent crime and receive expert consultation for persistent violence. Participants engaged with subject matter experts, including United States Attorneys, federal law enforcement agents, court practitioner experts and leading academics throughout the Symposium sharing lessons learned and building knowledge.

The twenty cities that attended the Symposium were regionally diverse, and Office of Justice Programs considered both quantitative and qualitative factors and consultation with the local United States Attorney when determining which cities to invite. Below is a map of the twenty cities that attended the Symposium:

Presented below are several highlights from the Symposium’s breakout sessions on trauma, prevention and homicide investigations: 

Applying a Trauma-Informed Approach to Law Enforcement Investigations and Prevention Efforts

A powerful way to curb the violence in our communities is to apply a trauma-informed approach to prevention efforts, violence prevention and intervention programs. For communities inundated with gang violence, youth violence, witness intimidation and domestic violence, repeat victimization is a chilling reality. In this workshop, Dr. Isaiah Pickens, Assistant Director of Service Systems at the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, worked with participants to identify evidence-based strategies that can raise the standard of care and improve access to services for traumatized children, their families and communities. Dr. Pickens also discussed iOpening Enterprises, a resource to help teens and young adults reach their potential academically, professionally and personally by sharing human stories that inspire people to reach for a better version of themselves.

If you are interested in the topics covered in this workshop, please see the following resources available on the Diagnostic Center website:

Developing a Coordinated and Targeted Prevention Strategy

Public safety approaches that are strategically focused tend to be more effective and, in the long run, more efficient. A variety of agencies beyond the police are often in a position to help achieve violence reduction and prevention goals; however, coordination of inter-organizational efforts can be difficult to implement and sustain. Professor Ken Novak of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Retired Chief Rodney Monroe of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina Police Department facilitated this workshop. The Kansas City No Violence Alliance applies an approach similar to the classic problem-oriented policing scanning, analysis, response and assessment approach, in which problems are scanned and fully analyzed from the perspective of multiple partners and responses are implemented in a coordinated manner. This workshop included both process and outcome goals and highlighted the important steps in establishing a coordinated and target prevention strategy, such as identifying key stakeholders; overcoming organizational inertia, customs and communication barriers and avoiding mission creep.

If you are interested in the topics covered in this workshop, please see the following resources available on our website:

Homicide Investigations: Model Practices for Improving Investigations and Prosecutions and Increasing Clearance Rates

Quality homicide investigations are vital to improving clearance rates and prosecuting violent individuals for the most egregious crimes. This workshop explored effective approaches in managing homicide investigations in high-crime areas, strategies to increase clearance rates and collaborative and reciprocal relationships between law enforcement and prosecutors. Los Angeles County Assistant Head Deputy District Attorney John Colello and Los Angeles Police Department Detective John Skaggs worked with workshop participants to identify various proven strategies for improving the quality of homicide investigations and prosecutions. Participants had the opportunity to engage in dialogue about practical strategies to address their common challenges, such as witness credibility and intimidation and lack of cooperation.

If you are interested in the topics covered in this workshop, please see the following resources available on our website: