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"Part jeremiad, part gripping crime thriller,"* Don't Shoot is David M. Kennedy's chronicle of his decades-long crusade to solve one of America's most pressing and shameful social problems. Kennedy, who engineered the "Boston Miracle" in the 1990s, cutting youth homicide by two-thirds at the height of the crack epidemic, reveals the history and the strategy behind his commonsense yet revolutionary approach to ending crime. He has refined an approach in which everyone-gang members, drug dealers, cops, and ...
"Part jeremiad, part gripping crime thriller,"* Don't Shoot is David M. Kennedy's chronicle of his decades-long crusade to solve one of America's most pressing and shameful social problems. Kennedy, who engineered the "Boston Miracle" in the 1990s, cutting youth homicide by two-thirds at the height of the crack epidemic, reveals the history and the strategy behind his commonsense yet revolutionary approach to ending crime. He has refined an approach in which everyone-gang members, drug dealers, cops, and neighbors-comes together in a giant community meeting, an intervention and an affirmation of a shared desire for safety and peace. The proof is in the miraculous results. Don't Shoot offers a bold way forward in combating one of our country's most intractable social problems. (*Boston Globe)
An unlikely criminal-justice pioneer revisits his innovative, immensely successful crusade against youth homicide in America's worst neighborhoods.
Kennedy (Criminal Justice/John Jay Coll.) didn't set out to dedicate his career to crime, much less the seemingly insurmountable problem of gang-and-drug related violence plaguing America's cities and stumping even the most seasoned law-enforcement units. Rather, as an aspiring writer straight out of college, he took a job constructing teaching cases for Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. An early assignment on problem-oriented policing sent him to Los Angeles' beleaguered Watts neighborhood, one of many hit hard by the 1980s crack epidemic. Kennedy was struck by the devastating violence he witnessed and, as he plunged further into researching the problem, the horrifying trends it represented. Quickly, a few things became clear. First, guns, drugs and gangs held the keys to the downward spiral. Second, in a shockingly optimistic and humane perspective, that the real problem was, in essence, a massive misunderstanding; that is, that cops and communities wanted, at the base level, the same things, and could be brought together to work toward them. Kennedy and a few key colleagues launched what became known as the Boston Miracle (a name not sanctioned by Kennedy, who emphasized that hard work, rather than divine intervention, created the results). With a massive communication effort, including an astonishing set of forum meetings which actually brought gang members and police officers together, Kennedy's team made clear to the community their goal of stopping violence and valuing the young lives that had previously gone unnoticed. Results were swift and unprecedented—youth homicide rates halved, then quartered, and broad changes were made to communities. More importantly, the solution was not specific to Boston. Over the years, Kennedy has cloned his experiment in cities across the country, from smaller communities like Stockton, Calif., to, with significantly more effort and issues, meccas of urban blight like Baltimore.The problem has in no way been eliminated—and Kennedy emphasizes the drastic consequences when the programs falter—but progress is undeniable.
A valuable text—not just for the solution, but also for the refreshing philosophy behind it.
Boston: Street Knowledge, Street Sense 25
Operation Ceasefire 44
Building Out I 76
Baltimore: Politics, Resistance, Obstruction 101
Across the Race Divide 124
High Point: Truthtelling and Reconciliation 156
Building Out II 185
Stopping It 207
Posted March 30, 2012
This imposing work documents his 17 year effort to bring sanity to law enforcement's attempts to stop gun killings and open drug markets in various "hot "communities throughout our nation. More than law enforcement's heavy hand was involved...: the purveyors of violence, the gang bangers, thugs and wannabees, were involved as were the communities through moral voices (pastors, streetworkers, doctors and others) and "influentials" of these thugs (Aunties, moms, girl friends, siblings and incarcerated old heads or street legends). Finally Social Service providers were there and participating to provide training, addiction treatment or social services as needed and job opportunities. The thugs had to ask though and they had to stop the violence or face real criminal justice. It was part of the deal. From what Kennedy termed, the Call-in. Ask Freddie Cardoza from Boston, one of the first of the thugs given the treatment for ignoring the program's offer in Operation Ceasefire. He felt the heavy weight of a Federal indictment and conviction for POSSESSING one bullit, as his two prior convictions made him the perfect example for the other gunslingers in Boston. He went away for 20 years on that charge and is still doing the time as of today. The thugs got the message and the shootings stopped (at least for a while). This new approach worked and it traveled to other areas with different cultures, different problems and worked there as well. Check it out and visit the website. These folks are making changes for the better and we can all be proud of the work these Americans are doing. Our streets and parks can be made safe for our citizens. No saints here, only hard, dedicated workers. God Bless Them.
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Posted January 18, 2013
This important book explains the strategy used in several cities that has drastically cut the number of killings by coordinating the actions and reactions between all the forces of law and the forces of lawlessness. It's not an easy read, but when the strategy is applied, it works. It saves lives as well as improving the quality of lives, neighborhoods and cities.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 2, 2013
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Posted January 5, 2012
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