The Justice Department is about to take a closer look at why some cities have better records than others in fighting crime, reports National Public Radio. Some more successful cities pair academics with police to develop crime prevention strategies together. In Cincinnati, an unusually close relationship between police and criminologists is credited with helping take some repeat offenders off the streets. In the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence, hundreds of felons are required to appear in a courthouse to hear this message: The violence must stop, or all gang members would be held responsible.
University of Cincinnati researcher Robin Engel and doctoral students gather information on criminal activity, including local gang-related violence, and repackage it in a more useable form. The program is based on a concept that David Kennedy first applied in Boston in 1996. Kennedy, now at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says, “Nobody is moving the ball along the way Cincinnati is,” Kennedy says. “Every single quarter, let’s say, they are adding a new and operational element to what they are doing.” The Justice Department will fund research to determine which academic-police partnerships have been successful, and whether they can be exported to other cities.