Hospital-Based Intervention Programs Reduce Violence and Save Money

From 2019 to 2020, homicides rose by 28 percent across the United States. In the same period, gun homicides rose by 35 percent, and gun-related deaths among Americans ages 19 and younger increased by nearly 30 percent. Gun violence is among the leading causes of death for youth in the United States. This violence disproportionately affects Black and Latino communities.

Community violence intervention (CVI) models are one way that communities are responding to gun violence. CVI programs “work to reduce homicides and shootings through trusted partnerships between community stakeholders, individuals most affected by gun violence, and government.” Some CVI models have led to as much as a 60 percent reduction in homicides.

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Effective CVI efforts draw from a variety of methods, involve coordination across a whole community, and pull together multiple CVI programs to form community networks that comprehensively challenge violence.

Different CVI models engage with victims and perpetrators at distinct moments in the progression of violence. No single CVI model wholly addresses violence in a community; rather, employing these models in tandem leads to the best outcome. CVI models may range from community-driven crime prevention through environmental design, which addresses crime through architecture and urban planning, to the street outreach or violence interrupter model, which involves employing community representatives to directly mediate and break up violence as it is occurring. This column considers hospital violence intervention programs (HVIP), a CVI model in which experts and community members connect with victims in trauma centers and emergency rooms to help them begin the recovery process…

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