The NC Network for Safe Communities (NCNSC) team is dedicated to providing training, technical assistance, and research and evaluation support to sites working to understand and reduce violent crime. We are involved in several ongoing initiatives across the State in any number of these roles. We serve as the research and training/technical assistance partner to the United States Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of North Carolina and we work with sites in all three federal judicial districts in communities large and small. Below, you will find examples of the impact of strategies implemented within some of the communities with which we work.
Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative Evaluation Results
The NC Network for Safe Communities has been working closely with the High Point Police Department on implementation and evaluation of the Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative (OFDVI) where the focused deterrence strategy is being applied to combat domestic violence. Our final report as part of the COPS-funded evaluation can be found here: COPS OFDVI Lexington – High Point Evaluation – FINAL. For a full presentation of results (Sechrist, Weil, & Sumner, 2014) from the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence conference, click: NCCADV 2014 Conference Presentation or click: 2014 June John Jay Conference Evaluation Presentation for findings presented at an international conference in June 2014 (Sechrist & Weil, 2014).
Evaluation highlights from the above mentioned presentations appear below.
Results to date for Year 2014 show a continued decrease in DV arrests as compared to previous years. There has been an average of 83.5 arrests per month YTD in 2014 as compared to the same timeframe (Jan-Apr) of 2012 (m=95) and 2013 (m=94.25).
Only 9% of offenders who have received a notification message have reoffended with a new DV-related arrest.
Note: repeat calls for service to the same address are still occurring, but are stopping short of actual violence.
NCNSC prepared an interim report of analyses about domestic violence offenders who have been notified through the High Point Police Department’s focused deterrence initiative. The interim report findings reveal that we know quite a bit how well the strategy is working in reducing domestic violence recidivism and with what types of offenders.
First of all, in general, the strategy of notifying domestic violence offenders that the police department now has a new way of dealing with domestic violence and is taking domestic violence crimes seriously works to deter future domestic violence recidivism.
The notification message goes onto to say that we [the police department] know who you are and you are now on a list being tracked for any future domestic violence offenses. Further domestic violence will result in swift, certain, and severe consequences. The offender’s anonymity is stripped and the offender is told that the victim is no longer driving the process. The police department is now taking charge. A seemingly simple concept has had rather astounding results when compared to traditional approaches to deter domestic violence. The graph below shows the 6-month and 1-year recidivism rates for notified offenders across offender categories in High Point.We have found that certain offenders are more likely than others to recidivate after notification at both the C and D levels.
First, the domestic violence history of an offender matters in whether or not they are likely to reoffend after notification. For both C- and D-level offenders, if they had a prior arrest for domestic violence before notification, they were more likely to reoffend after notification than offenders who did not have a prior domestic violence arrest. Therefore, it helps to know who is being notified based on their past arrest history and there may be room for adjusting the notification message or delivery method to account for past history in hopes of making the notification more successful in deterring future domestic violence for high-risk offenders. While most C-notified offenders (82.7%) did not reoffend after notification, 17.3% did reoffend. When looking at the C-level reoffenders, 60% had a prior domestic violence arrest before notification compared to only 32% of offenders who did not reoffend after C-notification. C-list reoffenders also had significantly more total domestic violence arrests prior to C-notification (1.35 prior domestic violence arrests on average) compared to non-reoffenders (.67 prior domestic violence arrests on average). A similar trend was found for D-notified offenders. Most D-notified offenders (77.6%) did not reoffend after notification with reoffenders being slightly more likely than non-reoffenders to have had a prior domestic violence arrest before notification.
Age of the offender at the time of their 1st domestic violence arrest is important in predicting whether the offender will reoffend after notification. Non-reoffenders were statistically significantly older at the age of first domestic violence arrest as compared to reoffenders. The average age of first domestic violence arrest for C-level reoffenders was 30.1 years which was significantly younger than non-reoffenders whose average age of first domestic violence arrest was 32.5 years. However, there was no significant difference between age at notification for C-list reoffenders and non-reoffenders. For D-list offenders, age at notification was associated with whether or not the offender reoffend after notification. D-notified reoffenders tended to be slightly younger at time of notification (average age at notification was 33.1 years) compared to non-reoffenders (average age at notification was 36.2 years). Like with the C-list trend, D-list reoffenders tended to be younger at age of first domestic violence arrest (average age was 30.9 years) compared to non-reoffenders (average age was 33.0 years).
Certain offenders reoffend very quickly after notification and they are very likely to reoffend again as they escalate up the offender notification categories. Specifically, if an offender quickly reoffended after D-notification (defined as getting a new domestic violence arrest within 180 days of initial notification), they were more likely to reoffend again after C-notification as compared to D-notified offender who were not quick reoffenders. 38% of Quick Reoffenders after D-notification went onto to reoffend after C notification. See graph below for more details.
What do we do now with what we know?
- Can we take advantage of this knowledge based on what the data shows us about reoffenders to change the messaging or process in some way to better deter high risk offenders?
- Other potential risk factors for reoffense after notification were: 1) being male, 2) being young, especially for C-list offenders, and 3) being an offender who qualified for D notification, but could not be located or otherwise reached to receive the D notification message.
- What can be done to ensure that no offenders who should be notified fall through the cracks? In order for this strategy, or any focused deterrence strategy to be successful, offenders must be met with certain, severe, and swift consequences for their offending behavior.
The full interim report can be accessed here: Nov 2014 Interim Report_UNCG Notified Offenders OFDVI Evaluation
NC Network for Safe Communities has been a part of the ongoing OFDVI workgroup involved in the planning and implementation of the strategy. As part of their role, the NC Network for Safe Communities team documented the implementation process and conducted interviews with key stakeholders. The process documentation is here: OFDVI Process Documentation.
Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative (OFDVI) Replication in Lexington, NC
The NC Network for Safe Communities (NCNSC) team received COPS funding to conduct the evaluation of the replication of the OFDVI strategy in the first official site, Lexington, NC. As part of their involvement with Lexington, the NCNSC team has assisted with general training and technical assistance about the strategy and processes, data collection and quality control, partnership building, and outcomes and process evaluation. Recently, the NCNSC team presented along with partners at the Lexington Police Department about the strategy’s initial successes and lessons learned since implementation. The presentation was part of the 3rd annual Innovations in Domestic and Sexual Violence Research and Practice conference held in Greensboro. A copy of the presentation is available here: Innovations 2015 Conference Presentation NCNSC and LPD
Preliminary results regarding notified offender recidivism rates from Lexington are promising and are presented alongside High Point’s notified offender recidivism rates in the figure below.
Evaluation of the Educating Kids about Gun Violence (EKG) Program
The Educating Kids about Gun Violence (EKG) program is part of the Fayetteville Police Department’s Operation Ceasefire initiative, The EKG program began in 2014 and is designed to teach kids about gun and gang violence and prepare them for healthy decision-making. The program is taught by Fayetteville Police Department officers to youth in all 7th and 9th graders in the Cumberland County School System, representing a unique partnership between law enforcement and the schools. By the end of the 2014-2015 school year, the Department will have reached over 8600 students county-wide with its gun and gang violence prevention and education message. The final report submitted to Fayetteville Police Department with evaluation results based on Year 1 can be accessed here: EKG Evaluation Results Year 1 Mar 2016-v4
The EKG program uses a video of a scenario of a young male who is faced with various decision points about gun and gang violence. The video exposes the classroom participants to the potential consequences of poor decision making about guns and gangs. Classroom participants then discuss decision-making and how the young male in the video could have made better decisions along the way to prevent the negative consequences he experienced in the video.
Based on preliminary data analyzed by the NC Network for Safe Communities team stemming from surveys completed by student participants, the EKG program has been administered to a sample of students where nearly half have already experienced a close family or friend who has been shot with a gun. Overall, 2.2% of student participants are already in a gang and another 3.5% would consider joining a gang. About 12% had either been shot at or threatened with a gun themselves and another 3.3% reported that they have used a gun to threaten or shoot at another person. Over 20% of student participants reported that it would be easy to get a gun if they wanted one and nearly 8% said that their friends carried guns regularly. Nearly 10% of the student participants reported that they have already felt pressure from others to carry guns themselves. The descriptors of the sample suggest that the EKG program is targeting a rather vulnerable or at-risk population of students, many of whom are already experiencing some level of gun and gang-related violence in their lives. Even still, the changes in attitudes and intended behaviors toward guns and gangs as a result of the EKG program are very promising. Students showed statistically significant (p ≤ .05) attitudinal/cognitive and intended behavioral shifts in the desired direction from pre- to post-survey, indicating that exposure to the EKG training program was successful in leading to student attitudinal, behavioral, and cognitive changes. Specifically, students reported the following shifts after exposure to the EKG training based on their pre- and post-survey data.
- They agreed more that the best way to solve arguments was to talk things out.
- They felt more strongly that they knew what to do resist peer pressure.
- They were less likely to agree that they had to be willing to break rules to fit in with their peers.
- They were more likely to stop hanging out with a friend known to carry a gun.
- They were more likely to feel that they knew how make smart decisions.
- They were more likely to agree that carrying a gun is dangerous.
- They were likely to debunk the myth that gang members stand up for each other. Specifically, after the video, students were unlikely to feel that the young male’s gang would have his back after going to prison even though before the video, students were more likely to feel that gangs in general have each other’s backs.
In addition, on the post-survey, 58.2% of students strongly agreed and another 35.1% agreed that they have choices
when it comes to making good decisions. 51.7% of students strongly agreed and 38.6% agreed that after the program,
they feel like they will be able to make better decisions in their life. 53.7% of students strongly agreed and 29.0% agreed
that after the program, they would be less likely to carry a gun. 59.8% of students strongly agreed and 30.3% agreed that
after the program, the feel like they know more about the dangers of having a gun. Finally, 62.7% of students strongly
agreed and 29.0% agreed that after the program, they leaned that they need to think more about the consequences of
their actions before acting.
Even more compelling are the anecdotal stories coming from the officers who facilitate the EKG sessions about student reactions and revelations about their own experiences related to gang and gun violence. Officers always leave their direct contact information with the students at the end of each session and many students have reached out to officers forging true relationships and building trust around this sensitive matter of violence in their everyday lives.
We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Fayetteville Police Department on the EKG program. Final evaluation results will be forthcoming thanks to funding from the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission for the NC Network for Safe Communities team to complete the evaluation work.
MDNC Site Success
The NC Network for Safe Communities and UNCG have been the research partner to the United States Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of North Carolina (MDNC) for fifteen years. Recently, the USAO provided funds to NC Network for Safe Communities to create a brochure to document the MDNC’s success in reducing violent crime through use of focused deterrence and PSN strategies. Across 10 sites, violent crime was reduced from 8-61% from year of strategy inception to year 2011. The graphic depicting declines in violent crime across site is below and the full brochure can be accessed here: MDNC Brochure 2012.
Youth Gang Assessment
The Guildford County youth gang assessment was conducted by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s (UNCG) Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships (CYFCP) and members of the NC Network for Safe Communities in partnership with a steering committee, including Youth Focus, Inc., One Step Further, Inc., and Guilford County Court Alternatives. Additional key partners included the local Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC), Greensboro Police Department, High Point Police Department, Guilford County Sherriff’s Office, Guilford County School, students and staff, community residents, parents and youth, current and ex-gang members, as well as an array of youth-serving community organizations.
The assessment includes an overview of the Guilford County community and the prevalence of specific risk factors for gang involvement. Data provided by law enforcement data describes statistics on gang-related crime in the county, which includes data from the cities of Greensboro and High Point, and the unincorporated areas in Guilford County. Publicly available data from Guilford County schools is synthesized to provide an analysis of gang-related risk factors present within the system and crime and violence incidents across school settings. Additional school data were obtained from surveys administered to School Resource Officers regarding perceptions of gang activity within schools and their perceived ability to effectively deal with it. Surveys were also administered to community youth and adults to ascertain their perceptions of gang activity in their neighborhoods, schools, and day-to-day lives. Interviews with gang-involved youth provide additional first-person understanding of gang life in the county.
Based on all data collected, the assessment will be used to guide the next step of the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model, which is the development of a strategic plan for prevention, intervention, and suppression activities related to youth gang violence in Guilford County. According to the Model, this next stage will be driven by a diverse, multi-disciplinary steering committee that will coordinate strategies and policy decisions to reduce youth gang activity in Guilford County.
- News Release (PDF)
- Gang Assessment Meeting Notice (Word Document)
- Summary and Recommendations (PDF)
- OJJDP Guilford County Gang Assessment Comprehensive Report (PDF)
- Overview of the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model (PDF)
- Community Descriptions (PDF)
- Overview of Guilford County Schools School Safety and School Performance (PDF)
- Law Enforcement Gangs and Gang Related Crime (PDF)
- Juvenile Justice and Delinquency (PDF)
- Community Voices and Community and SRO Survey Results (PDF)
- Community Programs and Resources (PDF)