Research on Youth Gun Violence Could Not Collect Data

Developing community responses to youth firearm violence

The Carter Center worked to mobilize community action against youth firearm violence.

Under the project, named "Not Even One," Community Action Teams (CATs) were formed at demonstration sites in three states (California, New Mexico, and Georgia). CATs included local community members, parents, clergy, and representatives from law enforcement, education, and public health agencies. CATs were to:

  • Collect public health data on fatal firearm injuries on youths.
  • Collect data sufficiently detailed to prepare written portraits "putting a face" on the victims.
  • Use the data to develop viable, effective interventions at the community level and, eventually, nationally.

Key Results

  • By early 1998, CATs had collected information on 75 victims of firearm violence, but they were not successful in obtaining all the desired epidemiologic and other public health data.

    Barriers included the reluctance of law enforcement agencies to share data on cases still under investigation and families' unwillingness to discuss the deaths of their loved ones.

    Citing the data-collection problems, the Carter Center shut down the three sites in May 1998 and hired an independent evaluator to conduct a review of the project.

Key Findings
The evaluator concluded that:

  • CATs potentially could be trained to collect public health data.
  • That activity might also be assigned to a group with more experience in this area, such as a local health department or an academic institution, allowing CATs to focus on intervention activities.

The Carter Center subsequently proposed shifting responsibilities for data collection from CATs to local public health agencies. RWJF and the Carnegie Corporation of New York declined to support the modification, bringing the project to an end.

Funding
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided $507,771 in partial support for the effort.

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