The Chicago Project for Violence Prevention

This chapter examines The Chicago Project for Violence Prevention funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of the Local Initiative Funding Partners Program.

The project was founded in 1995 by a physician, Gary Slutkin, who takes lessons learned from his experiences in the developing world and applies them to violence prevention in the United States. He believes that violence is a learned behavior and that just like other epidemics, it can be controlled by changing community norms. Working in some of the most high-crime, gang ridden neighborhoods in Chicago, he learns to address the problem on a block by block basis, enhancing community policing and providing an aggressive program of public education. The author describes lessons learned and applied from the Boston Ceasefire Program, as well as the important role played by outreach workers who often came from the same lifestyle as their clients. The project turned out to be such an interesting one that it was awarded an unprecedented second grant.