Providence Had Antidrug Success With “High Point” Strategy


After Providence’s Chad Brown housing project was plagued by drug-related crime, in 2008, police began trying a strategy that combined traditional enforcement with more community involvement, more social services, and second chances for a select few non-violent dealers, says USA Today. “It changed a hell of a lot,” said one resident who moved into Chad Brown in 2010 because police had cleaned it up and kept it safe. “No loud music at night, nobody fighting, no cops coming in except to do their rounds. You can actually sit outside with your kids and do a cookout.”

Named for the North Carolina city where it started, the “High Point strategy” used at Chad Brown is one of several unconventional and sometimes controversial methods that cities are using to shut down open-air drug markets, cut gun violence, prevent drunken driving. and keep probationers from going back to prison. David Kennedy of John Jay College of Criminal Justice designed the strategy. Non-violent, low-level dealers are called in to meet with police, prosecutors, community members and social service agencies. They’re shown video and other evidence of their dealing. The dealers are told that if they’re caught selling drugs again, they’ll be prosecuted. “Banking” that case allows police to make a credible prosecution threat, Kennedy said.

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