Despite Ceasefire Launch, Gang Violence In Denver Climbs Steadily


The number of gang-related violent crimes in Denver has nearly doubled in the first four months of this year, despite a police program aimed at encouraging gangsters to lead more peaceful lives, the Denver Post reports. In the first four months of 2012, there were 72 gang-related crimes against people; in that same period this year there have been 132. Police officials say it is too soon to gauge the success of the far-reaching Ceasefire program and that the numbers don’t tell the entire story. Dianne Cooks, whose son was paralyzed in a gang-related shooting in 2005, said the program has not gone far enough to curb gang violence. “It’s not working yet,” said Cooks, director of Families Against Violent Acts. “It ain’t going down. And it’s getting warmer, so we don’t know what’s going to happen now. I think it’s going to get worse.”

Ceasefire, unrolled in October, enlists law enforcement, community leaders and clergy to gather gang members in closed-door meetings, where they demand the violence end and promise steep punishment if it doesn’t. Social services then offer a path toward reform through job-placement programs, rehab and counseling. The approach has been tried in other cities with varying results, but it has also proved difficult to sustain. It is based on an effort credited for slashing Boston’s homicide rate by nearly 70 percent in the mid-1990s. About six years after the program launched in that city, gang slayings reached a 10-year high.

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