Author: Stacy Sechrist

Preliminary Findings on Gang Activity in North Carolina

NC Network for Safe Communities was tasked with creating a survey for distribution at the 2015 North Carolina Gang Investigator’s Conference and Gang Free North Carolina Academy. 394 law enforcement and community resource partners participated in the survey representing nearly every county in NC.  Main findings were that:

  • All types of gangs are present and active in NC communities, though local neighborhood crews were the most commonly reported. 68% of respondents reported that gang membership in their community has increased over the past two years, while 26% of respondents reported that gang membership has stayed the same.
  • When asked about the most violent group in their community, national-level street groups were most often identified, as mentioned by 49% of respondents. Local crews were identified as the most violent group type by 45% of respondents. These local neighborhood groups are prevalent, active, and often violent in communities, meaning they need the same level of LE and resource attention as more organized, hierarchical national-level gangs.’
  • Respondents revealed that gangs are present in schools in 74% of communities. Of those communities with a gang presence in schools, 25% reported gangs are present in elementary schools, 78% reported gangs are present in middle/junior high schools, and 80% reported gangs are present in high schools.
  • 1.3% of respondents reported an increase in their community in international terrorist groups, 26% have seen an increase in Sovereign groups, and 13% have seen an increase in hate-motivated group activity.
  • Gangs are using social media readily. 76% of LE respondents were aware of gangs using social media to communicate with one another. 51% of LE respondents stated that their agency frequently integrates social media for gang investigations. 18% rarely or never do.
  • Several barriers to gang member arrest and/or conviction were identified. The most common barrier was lack of victim/witness cooperation due to fear of retaliation, codes about not snitching, and the fact that many witnesess/victims are often involved in criminal activity themselves. Many respondents mentioned overburdened systems as barriers.
  • The most common services respondents reported providing to gang-involved individuals were often youth-oriented, including pro-social activities, after-school programs, and positive alternatives. Employment services and vocational training were also commonly mentioned. Unfortunately, 38% of all respondents, regardless of agency type, reported that they rarely feel they have the resources needed to address gang-related issues.
  • A PDF of preliminary findings can be accessed here: NCGIA Survey Report Preliminary Findings

NCGIA survey respondent map

Article in Governing Magazine highlights Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative’s success in High Point

The NCNSC team was interviewed by reporter, John Buntin, of Governing Magazine about the Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative in High Point.  The article, published in March 2016, highlights High Point’s success in reducing domestic violence offenses and recidivism through the focused deterrence strategy. Additionally, Lexington, NC has replicated the strategy and experienced success in combating the problem of intimate partner domestic violence.

NCNSC’s John Weil was quoted in the article about the mindset needed for other agencies to replicate the initiative:  “The operational piece of this is very complex and requires quite a bit of commitment and attention to detail. You can’t drop any particular piece and have this be effective.” Communities seeking to replicate the initiative must be mindful that there are many moving pieces to the strategy and every partner involved in domestic violence cases has to agree to commit to the partnership and the common goal of reducing domestic violence and addressing gaps in systems and processes that have allowed domestic violence offenders to skate through the criminal justice system with impunity. Additionally, partners must agree that the Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative is a new way of doing business. As Weil states, “People bring a program mentality to this, but they are not programs. There is no beginning and no end.” All partners must stay committed and be accountable to the larger initiative to do their part. If any one piece fails, the entire strategy will fail.

For NCNSC’s full evaluation and replication report funded by COPS, click here: COPS OFDVI Lexington – High Point Evaluation – FINAL.

Research into Action: Presentation for Reentry, Smart on Crime, and Project Safe Neighborhoods meeting

We were very honored to present at the January 21st joint middle and eastern district advisory team meeting entitled: Reentry, Smart on Crime, and Project Safe Neighborhoods. Speakers from across the state and at the federal level shared thoughts on “Smart on Crime” initiatives. Many local speakers shared their personal experiences with having worked on re-entry programs and Project Safe Neighborhoods focused deterrence strategies.  Each speaker was able to tell their version of how they have seen various reentry and PSN strategies be successful– some with hard stats and data and others with anecdotal stories about how they have personally seen strategies change someone’s life for the better. The day was full of hope and encouragement to move forward by applying strategies that are “smart” to deter crime (i.e., focused and targeted on the most violent population) and that can assist offenders who have paid their debt to society move forward with the skills and assistance that they need to be productive.

Our presentation, Research into Action, can be accessed here: MDAT Research Presentation


NCNSC Presents Evaluation Findings for Fayetteville Police Department’s Educating Kids About Gun Violence (EKG) Program

NCNSC was invited by partners at Fayetteville Police Department (FPD) to present initial evaluation findings about the Educating Kids about Gun Violence (EKG) program that FPD has been implementing in 7th and 9th grade health classrooms in all of the Cumberland County School System. FPD hosted a one day training for other sites, including law enforcement and resource partners, who may be interested in replicating the program. The local ABC news affiliate in Fayetteville covered the training (Click to view news segment).

Initial evaluation results are promising for the EKG program showing that students report less favorable attitudes toward guns, gangs, and violence after participating in the EKG program, and report greater self-efficacy in their ability to make good decisions and resist peer pressure after participating in the program. See graphic below which was part of NCNSC’s presentation. For a full copy of the presentation, click here: Sep 2015 EKG Evaluation Results.

Sep 2015 EKG Evaluation Results graphic


NCNSC Presents Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative (OFDVI) Evaluation Findings at National Conference

Stacy SeRecidivismchrist and John Weil of the North Carolina Network for Safe Communities presented their latest evaluation findings of the Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative (OFDVI) at the 2nd National Network for Safe Communities Practitioners Conference hosted at John Jay College in New Work, NY on June 25.

A few key findings were presented which are very encouraging for the strategy’s success in impacting three areas:

  • Reducing domestic violence offender recidivism
  • Reducing victim harm
  • Reducing calls for service and arrests for domestic violence over time

SpecifArrestsically, in High Point and Lexington, the reoffense rates for domestic violence offenders who have been notified range from 11-19% across notification categories. These rates are compared to estimates as high as 30-80% in the literature, with some literature suggesting that 60% of reoffenders will reoffend within 6 months of their initial domestic violence offense. The 6-month and 1-year recidivism rates in High Point were presented for each of the offender notification categories and are depicted in the figure above.

Also, in both High Point and Lexington the percentage of domestic violence arrests resultingVictim Harm in victim injury has decreased since the OFDVI strategy has been implemented and the rates of victim harm in both sites are below national estimates for incidents in which victim injury occurs.

Finally, in High Point where longitudinal data are available, they have experienced a 20% reduction in intimate partner domestic violence calls for service in the three years since the strategy began and a projected 37% reduction in calls for service over the next two years. Also in High Point, they have experienced a 13% reduction in domestic violence arrests over the three years since the strategy began with a projected 41% reduction in arrests over the next two years.

A full copy of the presentation is available here: JJ NNSC 2015 Conference Presentation v6 shortened presentation

A final evaluation report of the OFDVI strategy as implemented in High Point (NC) and Lexington (NC) will due to the COPS office on August 31. CFS