What To Know Today

A decline in arrests, gun violence victimizations for participants of READI Chicago. Since 2017, the program has offered transitional employment, training, and cognitive behavioral therapy to men at risk of gun violence. The University of Chicago Crime Lab studied the progress of some 2,500 participants in the 18-month program compared to a similar group of men who weren’t enrolled. READI participants saw 63 percent fewer arrests and 19 percent fewer victimizations for shootings and homicides, the study found. Before enrolling in the program, at least a third of participants had been previously shot and had an average number of 17 prior arrests. Participants also had 47 percent fewer shooting and homicide victimizations and 79 percent fewer shooting and homicide arrests if they had been referred to the program by street outreach groups. 

Question marks remain. At the same time, the analysis found that READI did not make participants any less likely to be arrested for other kinds of serious crimes, including armed robbery and non-gun-related aggravated battery. “The READI results are encouraging, but unfortunately not the final word on whether programs like these ‘work’ or not,” tweeted criminologist Thomas Abt in a thread weighing the findings. The bigger picture: READI Chicago is one of the most prominent organizations carrying out community-led public safety interventions. We’ve written about how the group has struggled to get consistent funding despite its key place in Chicago’s violence prevention circles. But in a sign of the increasingly prominent role for non-law enforcement approaches to violence reduction, the Biden administration recently tapped READI Chicago Director Eddie Bocanegra as a senior adviser at the DOJ. 

For the first time in 2020, gun violence became the leading cause of death for people under 20. Shootings surpassed motor vehicle crashes, overdoses, and all other causes of death, according to a letter published in The New England Journal of Medicine that analyzed CDC data. The more than 4,300 people under 20 who died of firearm-related injuries in 2020 represented a 29 percent increase over 2019. “The increasing firearm-related mortality reflects a longer-term trend and shows that we continue to fail to protect our youth from a preventable cause of death,” the University of Michigan-based authors wrote. Last week, we covered a related analysis of CDC data, also published in the NEJM, which found that gun violence overtook car crashes in 2017 as the leading cause of death for people aged 1 to 24.

Extremism watch: California man gets life in prison over 2017 murder of Montana sheriff’s deputy. A Montana judge on Friday sentenced Lloyd Baruss after he was found guilty of the 2017 shooting death of Broadwater County Deputy Mason Moore. Prosecutors say Lloyd and his son Marshall, motivated by anti-government beliefs, started a high-speed chase with officers that led to a shootout in which Marshall Baruss and Moore were both killed. Past as prologue: Extremism expert Mark Pitcavage has a short thread on Baruss’ previous shootout with police — in California in 2000 — and other high-profile cases in which perpetrators of extremist violence had previously committed public acts of violence.

Listen: Jennifer Mascia appeared on PBS NewsHour and spoke with host Geoff Bennett about the recent upward trend in mass shootings.

Data Point

$122 million — the estimated savings in costs related to serious violence generated by READI Chicago, according to the new analysis. That works out to about $185,000 per participant per a 20-month period. READI’s cost per participant is about $60,000, or close to $20 million for the recent cohort. [University of Chicago Crime Lab]