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Neighborhood Investments and Public Safety

Despite a continuing decline from pandemic highs, violent crime remains a top concern for many New Yorkers. Overall, New York City has a lower violent crime rate than most other large American cities—a rate that is near historic lows, with shootings and homicides down 25% and 11.9%, respectively, between 2022 and 2023. Nevertheless, violent crime remains an ongoing issue in several hotspots around the city.

Over the past few decades, many community-based programs have tested different strategies to reduce crime without the involvement of the criminal legal system. Many of these programs aim to address vulnerable populations’ basic needs such as education, housing, healthcare, and employment. It is possible that such interventions may be just as effective, if not more, at lowering long-term crime rates than traditional approaches to public safety. As policymakers in New York City and beyond make decisions about implementing and funding similar programs in their own cities, it is critical to rigorously evaluate these strategies in order to make data-driven conclusions about their efficacy.

The New York City Council’s Data Team conducted a statistical analysis of the Cure Violence program in New York City. Methodology and data are presented, and the results strongly suggest that Cure Violence is an effective component of the city’s collection of strategies to reduce gun violence.

Precincts with Cure Programs

28 Precincts

Change in Shootings in Cure Precincts

Average Change in First Year

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By Melissa Nuñez, Rachel Avram, Eric J. Koepcke, Rose Martinez, and Alaa Moussawi

History of Cure Violence

The NYC Health Department (NYC DOHMH) has been employing non-enforcement based strategies to reduce violence in the city for over a decade. In 2011, then-Council Speaker Christine Quinn created an anti-gun violence task force involving community leaders, which identified a promising program operating in Chicago called CeaseFire.

CeaseFire, now known as Cure Violence, defines violence as a public health issue and seeks to treat it like an infectious disease. Cure Violence takes an evidence-based, public health approach to gun violence by attempting to detect and interrupt conflicts before they escalate, identify and treat high risk individuals (those most likely to commit gun violence and/or become victims of a shooting), and change social norms.

To accomplish these goals, the program employs “outreach workers” and “violence interrupters” from the local community, many of whom have been formerly incarcerated or once belonged to a street gang. Workers canvas their neighborhoods to stay aware of potential conflicts, as well as leverage their existing social networks and community knowledge, in order to de-escalate conflicts between individuals before they lead to gun violence. They engage with at-risk individuals, as well as the overall community, working to discourage and denormalize violence.

The Crisis Management System (CMS), launched by the City Council in Fiscal 2013, delivers a multiagency approach to reduce gun violence in New York City. CMS encompasses the Cure Violence program and related programs that offer legal services, youth employment opportunities, school-based conflict mediation, mental and physical health services, and other social support services.

In Fiscal 2023, the Administration and the Council committed $145 million and $3.9 million, respectively, to continue providing anti-gun violence programs. The Administration has allocated approximately $64 million in Fiscal 2023 specifically to CMS/Cure Violence programs.

Evaluations of Cure Violence

A case study from the John Jay College that compared the South Bronx and East New York to similar precincts that did not implement Cure Violence found that the presence of the program was associated with a greater decline in pro-violence norms over time.

The study found that from 2014 to 2016, while residents’ expressed propensity to use violence in serious disputes decreased across the board, it more sharply decreased in the precincts that had a Cure Violence program as compared to those that did not (33% vs. 12%). The study also found that gun injuries fell 50% in East New York as compared to 5% in the comparison precinct (Flatbush).

In the South Bronx, there was a 37% decline in gun injuries and a 63% decrease in shooting victimizations, whereas the comparison precinct (East Harlem) only saw 29% and 17% decreases in these categories.

Evaluations of Cure Violence’s impact in Chicago and Baltimore found similarly large reductions in homicides and shootings, as well as evidence of changed social norms. While researchers have evaluated the success of Cure Violence in individual NYC precincts, there has not yet been a city-wide analysis of the program’s impact across all affected precincts.

Similar Programs with Evaluations

Existing evaluations of non-enforcement based approaches to lowering crime rates have shown promise. A comprehensive review of community-based services that reduced involvement with the criminal justice system identified a number of effective programs:

  • The Fast Track Prevention program, which focused on education, social skills, and parent-child interactions, led to a 30.9% relative reduction in violent crime convictions at age 25.
  • The Nurse-Family Partnership, in which nurses performed at-home visits to low-income first-time mothers starting prenatally and continuing through early childhood, was associated with a 20% lower chance of arrest among girls after two decades of follow-up.
  • A New York State program that allowed incarcerated individuals to obtain a post-secondary degree while in prison found a 53% decrease in rearrest rates 3 years following release when compared to individuals who were eligible to participate but chose not to.
  • In Chicago, a program that randomly assigned young people to summer jobs led to a 33-42% decline in violent crime arrests in the following year. Similar results were found in New York City, alongside an 18% drop in the likelihood of dying among former participants four years after the program’s conclusion.
  • An evaluation of LA County’s housing assistance program found an associated reduction in jail bookings 18 months after housing was provided, with 80% of program costs being recouped by savings to other public agencies.
  • Following Medicaid expansion during the Affordable Care Act, states that expanded Medicaid experienced a 5.3% relative reduction in violent crime rates as compared to states that chose not to expand Medicaid.


The Data Team conducted a longitudinal analysis from 2006 to 2023 utilizing Historic and Year-to-Date shooting incident data to assess Cure’s effect on gun violence in NYC. According to data provided to us by the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, there were 28 police precincts that received a Cure program from 2012 to 2021. The start dates for these programs were scattered throughout the 2012-2021 period, as seen in the following map.

We are interested in gun violence at the police precinct-year level, so we collapsed the data to this level by counting the number of shootings per precinct per year. If a precinct had no shootings in a given year, we fill in a zero for that observation. Thus, we have a balanced panel of 1,368 observations for the 76 police precincts across 2006-2023.

Our context involves over-dispersed count data (i.e., number of shootings) which can have low and zero values. Additionally, the typical number of shootings per year varies considerably across precincts. Given this, we analyzed the impact of Cure using Negative Binomial regression models, which handle count data and provide a relative measure of shootings.

Additional Notes:

  • We include time (year) fixed effects that control for macro/citywide changes that had a homogeneous impact across precincts.
  • We include precinct fixed effects that control for time-invariant differences between the precincts, e.g., demographics.
  • Whether and when a precinct received Cure was not random. Precincts were chosen for Cure based on their levels of violence.


  • Our study was not a randomized controlled trial, which is considered the gold standard for assessing the causal effect of an intervention or treatment.
  • We analyzed the effect of Cure at the precinct-level, yet each program covers a smaller catchment area within their precinct. Due to lack of available data on catchment area boundaries, using gun violence data at the precinct-level was the next best option. This may have ultimately led our study to underestimate the effectiveness of Cure, given that it assumes areas (in Cure precincts) outside of the catchment area are treated.
  • Due to the interpersonal nature of Cure, Covid may have reduced the effectiveness of Cure. If this is the case, by including precincts that received Cure in 2019 and 2021, we may be underrepresenting Cure’s effectiveness.
  • Our study assumed that the implementation of Cure was homogeneous across all precincts, which is likely untrue.
  • Given that Cure is just one element of New York City’s Crisis Management System (CMS), it is challenging to parse out the impact of Cure alone. While Cure is considered the core of CMS, each precinct has a different mix of wrap-around services operating alongside Cure.

Analysis: Precincts Chosen for Cure Violence

Cure Violence Precincts by Start Date


  • Precinct 77 (Crown Heights, Brooklyn)
  • Precinct 75 (East NY, Brooklyn)


  • Precinct 40 (Mott Haven, Bronx)
  • Precinct 113 (South East Jamaica, Queens)


  • Precinct 120 (North Shore, Staten Island)


  • Precinct 42 (Morrisania, Bronx)
  • Precinct 46 (University Heights, Bronx)
  • Precinct 67 (East Flatbush, Brooklyn)
  • Precinct 73 (Brownsville, Brooklyn)
  • Precinct 79 (Bed Stuy, Brooklyn)
  • Precinct 101 (Far Rockaway, Queens)


  • Precinct 114 (Queensbridge, Queens)
  • Precinct 44 (East Concourse, Bronx)
  • Precinct 60 (Coney Island, Brooklyn)
  • Precinct 23 (East Harlem, Manhattan)
  • Precinct 47 (Eastchester, Bronx)
  • Precinct 32 (Central Harlem, Manhattan)


  • Precinct 25 (East Harlem, Manhattan)
  • Precinct 48 (Belmont/East Tremont/East Farms, Bronx)
  • Precinct 52 (Fordham, Bronx)
  • Precinct 88 (Fort Greene, Brooklyn)


  • Precinct 43 (Monroe + Soundview Houses, Bronx)
  • Precinct 69 (Canarsie, Brooklyn)
  • Precinct 70 (Flatbush, Brooklyn)
  • Precinct 71 (Crown Heights, Brooklyn)
  • Precinct 81 (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn)
  • Precinct 103 (South East Queens, Queens)
  • Precinct 105 (Springfield/ Laurelton, Queens)
Cure Violence programs were first introduced in 2012 in precincts 75 and 77 with “Man Up” and “SOS Crown Heights,” respectively. Two more programs, “SOS South Bronx” and “Life Camp” were later introduced in 2013. By 2021, the Cure Violence program was implemented in 28 precincts across NYC.

Cure Precinct Cohorts

Source: Information provided to New York City Council by MOCJ (January 7th, 2022)

Shootings in NYC Precincts

On average, there were around 1,600 shootings in NYC per year from 2006-2023 and the number of shootings per year ranged from 1,000 to 2,000. Approximately 19% of shootings end in a homicide.

As one would expect, the number of shootings varies greatly by location in the city. A map of the 7-year average shooting rate per capita for all precincts from 2006-2012 shows that Cure precincts (outlined in black) tended to have higher shooting rates than precincts without Cure programs.

From this exploratory data analysis, we can see that precincts introduced to the Cure Violence program are not selected at random, making them categorically different from those not in Cure.

7-Year Shooting Average by Precinct

Source: NYPD Shooting Incident Data (Historic)

Precincts With and Without Cure

The chart plots the average number of shootings per precinct by year for precincts that did and did not receive Cure. From 2006-2023, there was an average of about 21 shootings per precinct per year. Cure and control precincts had an average of 43 and 8 shootings per year, respectively.

In the period between 2006-2011, before any Cure programs, both Cure and control precincts followed a relatively flat trend line. From 2012–2019, both types of precincts experienced a decreasing trend in shootings as the city was getting safer during the pre-Covid period.

Finally, the onset of Covid caused a spike in shootings in both types of precincts that has been sharply tapering off as the pandemic recedes.

Average Shootings for Precincts With and Without Cure

Results: Effectiveness of Cure

Cure and control precincts’ gun violence levels appear to have followed roughly parallel time trends in the years prior to Cure. Given this, we assume they would have followed parallel time trends throughout 2006-2023 in the absence of Cure—i.e., that precincts without Cure can serve as appropriate controls.

To assess this assumption more formally, the following chart shows the results from an event study specification. The chart shows that, before Cure implementation, Cure and control precincts were following roughly parallel time trends.

Relative to the year before, in the year a precinct received Cure there was a sharp reduction in the gap in shootings between Cure and control precincts of 18.1% (p-value=0.004) on average.

We also see a reduction in the gap in shootings of 17.3% (p-value=0.005) in the first year post-Cure, a reduction of 18.5% (p-value=0.020) in the second year post-Cure, and an average reduction of 15.9% (p-value=0.004) in years after that.

Percent Change in Shootings Before & After Implementation

Based on this analysis, Cure appears to have an immediate impact on gun violence. Furthermore, the Cure-aligned reduction in gun violence persists in the years after Cure implementation. This analysis strongly suggests that Cure helps to reduce gun violence and that this effect is long-lasting.


With public safety as a priority for many New York City residents, it is important to consider all possible avenues for reducing violent crime. Cure Violence is a non-enforcement based approach to reducing shootings that treats gun violence as an infectious disease. Cure employs credible messengers from the community as violence interrupters and outreach workers to detect and stop conflicts before they escalate, identify and help high-risk individuals, and change the community’s social norms with respect to gun violence.

Previous research has suggested that Cure is effective at reducing gun violence. Using data on shootings and Cure programs across NYC from 2006-2023, our research supports the association between Cure and lower rates of gun violence. Relative to precincts that did not receive Cure, we find that precincts that received Cure experienced a 18.1% reduction in shootings in the first year of the program. Additionally, we find a 16-19% reduction in the years after that, demonstrating the longevity of this change.

This evidence strongly suggests that Cure Violence is an effective component of the city’s collection of strategies to combat gun violence. Our forthcoming paper provides further details on our data and methodology and provides more analyses which argue against alternate explanations for our findings. In short, Cure precincts and the timing of Cure implementation are scattered geographically and across time, respectively, making it unlikely that some other change would have had a large impact on shootings in Cure precincts relative to control precincts.

Furthermore, we know of no other programs nor changes (outside of the Crisis Management System) that could explain the particular reduction in shootings in Cure precincts.

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Created by the NYC Council Data Team.