The Ivory Tower Half Hour: Detroit’s Bankruptcy and Syracuse’s Murder Rate
Hosted by David Rubin, Dean of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, this powerhouse panel of Bob Spitzer (SUNY Cortland), Tim Byrnes (Colgate University), Bob Greene (Cazenovia College), Tara Ross (Onondaga County Community College), and Kristi Andersen (Syracuse University) discuss the new face of the Detroit’s bankruptcy and Syracuse’s murder rate (although unfortunately the panel does not discuss Syracuse Truce).
Here is a description of the program:
The panelists examine the challenge of bankruptcy facing Detroit—and perhaps Syracuse at some point down the road. They debate who was responsible for the fiscal problems and how best to dig out. Then the panelists offer advice to the Syracuse Chief of Police and the Mayor on how to combat the murder rate in the city, which is the highest for any city in the state.
This video runs approximately 27 minutes.
How I Became Involved in Syracuse Truce
Last Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to be able to meet David Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. Professor Kennedy’s work, in developing effective strategies aimed at reducing gun and gang violence in inner cities, is the backbone of the violence reduction strategy currently being implemented in Syracuse, Syracuse Truce. I first learned of Kennedy’s work just over six months ago when I heard the rebroadcast of his interview on NPR’s Fresh Air. After reading Professor Kennedy’s book and emailing him, he put me in touch with Syracuse Truce.
Below is an introduction to the interview:
In 1985, David M. Kennedy visited Nickerson Gardens, a public housing complex in south-central Los Angeles. It was the beginning of the crack epidemic, and Nickerson Gardens was located in what was then one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in America.
“It was like watching time-lapse photography of the end of the world,” he says. “There were drug crews on the corner, there were crack monsters and heroin addicts wandering around. … It was fantastically, almost-impossibly-to-take-in awful.”
Kennedy, a self-taught criminologist, had a visceral reaction to Nickerson Gardens. In his memoir Don’t Shoot, he writes that he thought: “This is not OK. People should not have to live like this. This is wrong. Somebody needs to do something.”
Kennedy has devoted his career to reducing gang and drug-related inner-city violence. He started going to drug markets all over the United States, met with police officials and attorney generals, and developed a program — first piloted in Boston — that dramatically reduced youth homicide rates by as much as 66 percent. That program, nicknamed the “Boston Miracle,” has been implemented in more than 70 cities nationwide.
Last night, 60 Minutes ran a fascinating story about an innovative approach to policing being implemented in Springfield, Massachusetts. Here is how the story gets started:
In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our soldiers have been waging what’s known as counterinsurgency. They’re supposed to be both warriors and community builders, going village to village driving out insurgents while winning the hearts and minds of the population. But counterinsurgency has had mixed results – at best.
We met a Green Beret who is finding out — in his job as a police officer — that the strategy might actually have a better chance of working, right here at home, in the USA.
Call him and his fellow officers counterinsurgency cops! They’re not fighting al Qaeda or the Taliban, but street gangs and drug dealers in one of the most crime ridden cities in New England.
The measures which Springfield is taking to reduce gun/gang violence is similar to those of Syracuse Truce.
Syracuse Truce on CNN
Last night, the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer featured a story on Syracuse Truce (3:30 minutes), an innovative collaboration between law enforcement, social service agencies and the community. Syracuse Truce is designed to reduce gun crime and gang violence. The message of Syracuse Truce is simple: if you or someone in your gang engages in gun violence, the entire gang will be held responsible.
Syracuse Truce is based on a careful analysis of what is causing violence in Syracuse. The violence in Syracuse is driven by a very small population of people – less than 1% of the population – involved in drug crews, gangs, and other street groups. Syracuse Truce directly focuses on the individuals engaged in this behavior. As such, it represents the most cost-efficientive way of dealing with gun violence.
Syracuse Truce Audio
Yesterday, Syracuse Truce had another call-in notification with Syracuse Gang members. The media was permitted to record part of the notification. Dolce Collette Lloyd, the president of Mothers Against Gun Violence, discusses the lingering pain of her son’s murder. It is gut-wrenching and tragic, but worth hearing (1:51).
If you support Syracuse Truce and its message (The Killing Must Stop!): “like it” on Facebook.
Noble Jennings-Bey’s message (starting nine minutes in) is especially powerful.
Syracuse Truce: Focused Deterrence & Gun Violence Reduction
“Syracuse Truce” is an evidence-based strategy designed to significantly reduce gang and group related homicides and non-fatal shootings in Syracuse. Syracuse Truce is a collaboration between law enforcement and community service agencies that will infuse the area with a new standard of zero-tolerance regarding gun violence. The project is an outgrowth of the federal Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative in the Northern District of New York. Through collaboration with the United States Attorney’s Office, the Gifford Foundation is the recipient of a $300,000 federal grant that will fund this initiative. This project is one of nine awarded nationally from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Violent Gang and Gun Crime Reduction Program.
This gang violence reduction initiative is based on focused deterrence. It is implemented through focusing increased enforcement activities on the small number of offenders who are responsible for a disproportionate share of gun violence, particularly the members of local violent groups/gangs. This increased enforcement is coupled with the provision of services needed to change lives, such as vocational training, employment assistance, substance abuse treatment and counseling.