Three seemingly successful anticrime approaches– aggressive police enforcement of firearms laws, drug courts, and mentoring of at-risk youth–were highlighted yesterday at a forum in Washington, D.C. The fifth annual Jerry Lee Crime Prevention Symposium was sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Maryland. It featured work under the auspices of the Campbell Collaboration Crime & Justice Coordinating Group, www.aic.gov.au/campbellcj.
Police patrols directed at active and would-be gun-law offenders are a “promising strategy for reducing gun violence,” said criminologist Christopher Koper of the University of Pennsylvania, citing experiments in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and two cities in Colombia, Cali and Bogota. Some 55 studies on drug courts have shown that repeat criminality of defendants who appeared there went down 24 percent, lower than the number for those whose cases were handled in regular courts, said David Wilson of George Mason University. Youth mentoring has been proved to reduce offenses by about 30 percent, reported Patrick Tolan of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institute for Juvenile Research. Forum leaders called for more definitive research on these and other anticrime approaches to help guide policymakers.