The Interrupters: Anti-Violence on Valentine’s Day

One of the critically acclaimed films that I’ve heard quite alot about over the past several months, is The Interrupters. Part of the RWJF funded CeaseFire Chicago project, the film looks at preventing violence through the lens of public health. How awesome is that?

Violence as a disease. Brilliant.

Here’s a video of one of the main “stars” of the film, Ameena Matthews, talking with Stephen Colbert on his show recent –

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Ameena Matthews
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If you haven’t had a chance to check out one of their numerous screenings, you will be happy (I know I am!) to know that the film will be making its debut on PBS’s Frontline program on Valentine’s Day next Tuesday.

From the RWJF website:

CeaseFire was developed in 1995 by epidemiologist Dr. Gary Slutkin to reduce gun violence among youth. The program applies public health practices to violence prevention, focusing on the highest-risk individuals to interrupt violent actions and change the thinking about violence as acceptable behavior. The Department of Justice, states, and localities funded replication sites in Columbus, Ohio, New Orleans, Brooklyn, and throughout New York state.
A 2008 U.S. Department of Justice-funded evaluation of CeaseFire in Chicago found significant reductions in gun violence and retaliatory homicides associated with four of seven intervention neighborhoods studied. The program’s success led the Baltimore City Health Department to replicate Chicago’s CeaseFire program in four of Baltimore’s most violent neighborhoods under the name Safe Streets with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

In January 2012, Safe Streets also released a promising program evaluation conducted by Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH, and Jennifer Whitehill, PhD, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The evaluation was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and measured Safe Streets’ effect on gun violence, attitudes about the acceptability of gun use and impact on the lives of participants after the implementation of the program.
Researchers found the Safe Streets program was responsible for declines in shootings and killings. Homicides were reduced by more than half in Baltimore’s Cherry Hill neighborhood. And in communities plagued by violence where Safe Streets wasn’t implemented, community members were seven times more likely to support using guns to resolve disputes compared to a Safe Streets neighborhood.

CeaseFire receives support from RWJF’s Vulnerable Populations Portfolio, which creates new opportunities for better health by investing in health where it starts – in our communities, homes, schools and jobs.

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