Looking to Evidence to Reduce Gang Violence

University at Albany University at Albany Headlines

David Hureau, assistant professor in the School of Criminal Justice, presented his research last month at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Hureau is an assistant professor in the School of Criminal Justice.  

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 8, 2018) – The problem of gang violence isn’t going away any time soon, but researchers in the University at Albany’s School of Criminal Justice are working to better understand it.
David Hureau, assistant professor of criminal justice, recently presented the findings of his research on the effectiveness of a gang violence intervention and outreach program in Boston. Titled “The Efficacy of Street Outreach in Reducing Gang Violence,” Hureau’s research was part of a panel at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society.
The research was included as part of a panel at AAAS, “The Implications of Evidence About Drug Use Hot Spots, Gerrymandering, and Gang Violence.”
Hureau and his collaborators used quasi-experimental methods to study the impact of a four-year Boston gang outreach program that assigned outreach workers to 20 Boston gangs to mediate street conflicts and provide social services.
“We found, somewhat surprisingly, that the program had no discernible effect in reducing gang violence,” Hureau said, pointing out that research in the field suggests that some outreach programs have actually increased gang offending and violence.
He said that he and his collaborators are developing a series of papers to help shed light on the mechanisms behind their results.
Hureau said that the findings of his research could inform reform efforts among gang outreach programs, beginning with a program he is studying in Chicago with collaborators at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.
“Gang outreach programs are important because they represent our most commonly used non-law enforcement public policy option to curbing gang violence,” he said. “Because …

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