Anti-Crime Program Provides 'Vaccination' Against Violence

Developed by a university professor, the CeaseFire campaign addresses violent crime as a public health issue, and uses a neighborhood-wide information and outreach campaign to help curb violent behavior before it occurs.
October 4, 2006, 5am PDT | Alex Pearlstein
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Dr. Gary Slutkin, a faculty member at the University of Illinois-Chicago, founded the CeaseFire anti-violence campaign. The program "attacks violent crime as a public health issue. The program has 'vaccinated' 19 Chicago neighborhoods and nine other Illinois cities with 'outreach workers.' The workers are street-smart program employees who identify and engage individuals who are at high risk of becoming involved in violence, hoping to prevent the shootings and killings from occurring."

"CeaseFire includes a mammoth dose of public education designed to teach the communities about the consequences of shootings and killings. Neighborhoods are saturated with posters, leaflets, fliers, yard signs, bumper stickers, shirts and buttons that carry messages disparaging gun violence."

"CeaseFire has spread from Chicago to the Illinois cities of Aurora, Cicero, Decatur, East St. Louis, Maywood, North Chicago, Rockford, Waukegan and Zion. Requests for information about CeaseFire have come from Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Newark, N.J., and South Bend, Ind. Internationally, Toronto, Canada, Birmingham, England and Kingston, Jamaica, also have expressed interest in the program."

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Published on Sunday, October 1, 2006 in Memphis Commercial-Appeal
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